Tommy Hilfiger Doesn’t Think the Hamptons Are ‘Real Preppy’

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Yup, that's the Theory flagship in the background.

Should you happen to venture into the meatpacking district today and think to yourself, "Hey, I don't think that shingled beach cottage was in the middle of the street the last time I was stumbling around here at 4 a.m.," then you would be right! Tommy Hilfiger put it there, and it's a pop-up shop called Prep World. The designer had a launch party for it last night, and today he's flying to London to celebrate another Prep World that he's plopped down in the middle of an intersection over there, too. All the Prep Worlds are collapsible for portability purposes; the one in meatpacking will be folded up on Sunday and toted cross-country on a truck to L.A.

Hilfiger says that the cottages, which are outfitted with a front lawn, a doghouse, and other beachy accoutrements, were inspired by "Nantucket. New England beach houses." So, definitely not Hamptons beach houses? "Real preppy is really New England. The Hamptons are more a mix of everything. We want to be as authentic as possible so we say that the roots are really East Coast, New England," he explained. Although he grew up in upstate New York — which is technically not New England — he got a lot of exposure to authentic preppy folks because a lot of them attended Cornell, which is near his hometown, Elmira. When asked about his favorite New England memory, Hilfiger described his first store in Elmira (again, not really New England, but we'll let it slide): "It was a boutique selling incense and candles and bell-bottoms ... We painted it black and played rock music." Would he sell incense again? "Yeah! The right incense, I would sell. I love scent. We usually get our scent now from fragrance, but incense is fun, there's something different about incense. We should bring it back."