My Secret Life: Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer, 59


My parents were ... hard-working and moral. My father was a watch-maker and very strict but also sociable and extremely dapper. My mother was kind and forgiving and would take in all the waifs and strays in our neighbourhood; we always compared her to Mother Teresa. She taught me a lot.

The house/flat I grew up in ... was a modern clapboard house in a small town called Elmira in upstate New York. I'm one of eight siblings, so our five-bedroom house was always a little crowded.

When I was a child I wanted to be ... an American football player. But I was always much too little to be in the team.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I would like to be 20 years younger and a whole lot smarter.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... skiing.

You wouldn't know it but I'm no good at at ... board games. Sitting still for long periods of time is not something I like.

At night I dream of ... travelling. Last night, I dreamed I was on a motorcycle driving along the highway in Nantucket.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... myself, ageing before my very eyes.

My favourite item of clothing ... has to be my jeans. They are comfortable and versatile: you can wear them anytime, anywhere.

I wish I'd never worn ... high-heeled boots. I thought they looked so good at the time, but have since changed my mind.

I drive/ride ... a Range Rover and Mercedes. I also have a Ferrari Enzo which is a limited-edition model with a camel interior. I wish I had more time to drive it, it's quite a car.

My house is ... in the French Normandy-style, in Connecticut. I also keep an apartment at the Plaza, which I use when I'm in New York City. My most unusual place is on Mustique. It's a beach-front house made entirely of coral; it was based on plans drawn up by the set-designer Oliver Messel.

My favourite building ... is the Plaza in New York. I love living there – all that history, all those interesting stories.

My favourite work of art ... the painting of the American flag by Jasper Johns. I'm also a great Warhol fan and Picasso was amazing.

Movie heaven ... is any Woody Allen film, or 'Midnight Cowboy'; Dustin Hoffman is fantastic.

The last album I bought/downloaded ... was a replacement copy of 'Beggars Banquet' by The Rolling Stones.

My secret crush ... is Grace Kelly, who was endearing and inspirational.

My greatest regret ... was not having gone to business school. I had to learn on the job, which was hard and time-consuming. I opened my first shop in 1969, with 20 pairs of jeans; it was successful at first but then it went bankrupt because of bad decisions.

My real-life villains ... I disapprove of lots of decisions made by George Bush: the war, the meddling in the affairs of other countries, the conversations with dictators; it was a dark time. Obama has given us hope, but he has a huge job ahead.

The person who really makes me laugh ... is either stand-up comic Jimmy Fallon or comedian David Chappelle.

The last time I cried ... was about a year ago, when my baby, Sebastian, was born. I was so full of joy and happiness.

My five-year plan ... is to work less, though I'll never retire. I want more time with my family.

What's the point? I'm not sure, but I know what the point isn't: fighting, war and conflict.

My life in six words ... thankful, appreciative, grateful, happy, hopeful, satisfied.

A life in brief

Born in Elmira, New York, on 24 March 1951, the son of Irish-Catholic parents, Tommy Hilfiger founded his eponymous fashion label in 1984. He sold the company in 2006 for $1.8bn dollars. Hilfiger divides his time between Connecticut, New York, and his house on the Caribbean island of Mustique where he was for many years a neighbour of Princess Margaret. He lives with his second wife, Dee, and their baby Sebastian. This season the designer launches the Icon collection featuring 25 classic American pieces

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor