How Cobra Starship Wound Up Glamping With Tommy Hilfiger: A Love Story


A fabulously well dressed family heads out into the New Mexican wilderness for a weekend of “glamping” (glam camping), all while being serenaded by an amped-up dance band from Manhattan. Nope, it’s not the premise of a new VH1 reality program, but the runway show for Tommy Hilfiger’s spring 2012 line at Lincoln Center last week. The production was hosted for American Express Cardmembers, and brought to life the fictitious “all-American Hilfiger” family, strutting to the tunes of Cobra Starship.

It certainly isn’t a stretch to picture CS in the fashion world. “You’ve gotta be creative but have a social, business mindset,” lead singer Gabe Saporta notes, before adding that both he and guitarist Ryland Blackinton date women who work in the fashion industry. But that doesn’t mean they’ve always been blessed with dead-on style sense. Some of their early looks were dead on arrival! “Early on [in our career] we embraced a Day-Glo neon, retina-burning color palette. We looked like Harajuku girls.”

So how did these guys hook up with the king of prepster style at New York Fashion Week? We were lucky enough to get backstage at Lincoln Center and ask Hilfiger himself. “Rock music has influenced me forever, since I started my brand when I was a teen. In high school I wanted to be a rock star,” he admitted, though sadly, music wasn’t where his talent lay. “But I knew I could look like a rock star!” This love of music continues to imbue his work to this day. “I’ve always wrapped my brand around pop culture. We’re the first designer company ever to sponsor rock tours,” he told us proudly.  In many ways, it helps keep the 60-year-old young, and he counts himself a fan of the very youthful electro-pop-rock sound of Saporta and company. “I love their music,” he gushed.

And the band loves him right back. “We did the opening of the Soho store for Tommy a few years ago and we’ve kinda been bros behind the scenes since then,” Gabe told us of their first meeting. They spent the day perfecting an extended medley of their hits to accompany the models down the catwalk. Despite the practice, Ryland was little worried before the show. “There wasn’t one time we did it without messing up somewhere, so I hope we pull it off.” (We think they nailed it, by the way.)

Check out more of the looks, lights, music, excitement and bikinis (!) in the gallery below!

[Photos: Christiana Cefalu]

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