Tommy Hilfiger thought Gigi Hadid was too big to wear anything besides a poncho

Gigi Hadid is currently promoting her successful capsule collection/collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger. The collab is a success, from what I’ve heard. What’s interesting though is that Gigi wasn’t really well-liked or respected as a model when she first walked for Hilfiger back in February 2015. People Magazine published this curious shade about what Hilfiger and his casting director thought about Gigi’s body last year – she wasn’t tall enough (she’s like 5’11”) nor was she thin enough. Ugh.

Gigi Hadid seems to have it all: more magazine covers than any other model this year, every major catwalk under her belt, a standing invitation to walk the Victoria’s Secret runway and pose for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, a killer squad of fellow models, a cute boyfriend who lets her wear his shoes … we could go on. She’s even moved into the role of muse for Tommy Hilfilger, collaborating with him on a clothing line and serving as the face of his fragrance. But things weren’t always so golden for the model and the designer.

For Hadid’s first turn down the runway for Hilfiger in February 2015, Hilfiger recalls a casting dilemma. “Our casting director said, ‘She doesn’t really fit because you know she’s not quite as tall as the other girls, she’s not quite as thin. So they put a red, white and blue poncho on her, it covered a lot of her body unfortunately, but it received millions of hits,” he told Yahoo Style’s Joe Zee. “So I said, you know, why don’t we ask her to design a line with us. So I said, Gigi come design this with me, we’ll do a Gigi x Tommy couture line.”

It’s worth noting that, though Hadid was deemed “not quite thin” enough for any non-poncho apparel in February, by September, Hilfiger had her in a crochet bikini leading a cabal of models down a beach-inspired runway. And a few months after that, their clothing collaboration was announced. And though it may serve as small comfort for being publicly poncho-shamed by your design partner, Hilfiger did deliver her a compliment, saying she’s an “All-American girl next door with an exotic twist to her look.”

[From People]

I’m including the poncho photos in this post. Gigi has always been billed at the “curvy/athletic” model, which just shows you how stupid those labels are. While she is probably more athletic than the average model, she is probably only a few pounds (and I mean that, just a few pounds) heavier than the average model. And to be poncho-shamed? To be told that you’re too heavy to be seen in “normal clothes” and you have to wear the Poncho of Shame because you’re too short and chubby? Shut your mouth.


Photos courtesy of Getty, Fame/Flynet.

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

68 Responses to “Tommy Hilfiger thought Gigi Hadid was too big to wear anything besides a poncho”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Alix says:

    Amazed that Hilfiger even cast such a chubby, unsightly model in one of his shows…

    That poncho is HIDEOUS.

    • Wellsie says:

      Death by fire is a fate too good for that ponch. The football applique is infuriating.

      • Evil Queen says:

        Tommy Hilfiger should have used his sewing machine on his mouth years ago. He has always been insufferable and clueless. Anyone remember him saying that he would have been appalled if he’d known that young black men would be embracing his designs on Oprah? Something like that. Don’t have time to Google the details but it was pretty apalling. He is also a crap designer whose stuff ends up at Ross most of the time . Shut it Tommy

    • smith says:


      Something to go with that “Urban Sombrero” I bought from J. Peterman …

  2. Lora says:

    In what world is she chubby? But this could be the reason she lost so much weight in the last year

    • Ellie says:

      Right, that’s what I was thinking. She has never ever come close to anything resembling overweight, but she’s slimmed down drastically. Which bums me out because I loved her look before.

    • vaultdweller101 says:

      I really wish some of these girls would stay at their healthy, pre-fame weight. They’re so beautiful looking and natural then! The extreme slimdowns make them look all the same.

      • Dolkite says:

        I was thinking the other day about the Kardashians and what they really “do” for a living and I thought: gain and lose weight….that’s what they do. Every article is about them gaining weight (often for pregnancy) and then losing it.

    • pinetree13 says:

      If that isn’t thin dear GOD. What the what? WHAT THE WHAT?

      And 5’11″ isn’t tall enough for female model?!?! WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?!?!? In North America the AVERAGE height for women is 5’4″. HOW IS 5’11″ NOT TALL ENOUGH?!?!?!??!?!?!

      My mind is just blown by this. Guess she could saw a leg off and lose a few pounds that way. Good grief.

    • A.Key says:

      What weight loss?

      I googled her in 2014 and 2015 and 2016, and she always looks the same to me: tall, super thin and beautiful!

      What is wrong with people

  3. ElleBee says:

    He hasn’t been fashion relevant in years so moving right along

    • Seraphina says:

      @Ellebee: 100% spot on. He is a fashion irrelevant. And that poncho goes to show it as does his thinking that she should only model ponchos.

  4. Sam says:

    In what way is she short for a model? All of her friends who are models are practically the same height. The only exception is Karlie who is 6’2, but the height of a model is 5’10 and up I thought. I won’t even get into the “chubby” comments because they’re just ridiculous and nasty so therefore they don’t need to be given anymore attention.

    • Bridget says:

      Could you imagine being given that poncho to wear too? It wordlessly screams “covering up your large and unsightly body”. And it says so much about how much fashion people actually know that they didn’t realize that Gigi was going to get millions of hits even in that poncho. We the public aren’t the ones fixated on models being as thin as possible.

    • Lee says:

      She might not be as tall as she/her agents state. In the industry your agency sometimes adds a couple of inches to your height (so a very pretty 5 ft 7 girl would become 5 ft 9.5 or an angular girl with a long face would shoot up to 5 ft 11 from 5 ft 8). It’s especially true if you’re cast from a book/photos rather than in person, as by the time the models are at the show the organisers either don’t care, don’t realise or don’t have a contigency plan.

    • Klaw says:

      Back in the day it used to be a liability to admit you are over 5’10″, because then you would be TOO tall. I’d be surprised if it changed that much. This seems inaccurate.

  5. Alleycat says:

    I love that they found her “chubby” but still cast her anyway. Perfect example of nepotism. I loved her look originally, she looked fresh, but now she’s super tiny like the rest of them.

  6. Jesie says:

    She was heavier last year, and that combined with her doll-like face and tall but not too tall frame gave her that standard VS model look. Hilfiger as a brand rarely uses those types of models.

    They must have liked her in the show though, because the capsule collection would have been in the works shortly after that.

  7. L84Tea says:

    He’s a hobbit.

  8. ReineDidon says:

    1) this shows how much Hilfiger and designers are delusional about women sizes. Gigi is considered by everyone tall and thin. But she’s appearently not tall and thin enough to be a runaway model. Even after she lost so much weight.

    2) they still casted her for the runway though. Means they were only using her because she’s Instagram famous and would benefit them financially.

    3) the fashion industry is accepting more girls as models, not because they changed their views on women sizes, but to include any girl with millions of followers.

  9. Lucy says:

    Uh yeah, I think we’ve been through this about a couple bazillion times already. Man, getting our heads out of our a**es is HARD. On another note, I love that all-black outfit.

  10. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    All I can say is -WOW- she looks so much better with that brunette shade, that she looks ghastly as a blonde in comparison.

    • Suzie says:

      Same. I love the hair color she’s had for the past month. It’s a lovely shade.

    • Adele Dazeem says:

      It’s always amazing to me how hair shade changes–even relatively subtle ones–can change your look. It’s been on my mind lately as I’m starting to get some grey and fretting as to what color to go.

      I guess fretting about my hair is my way of transferring my election anxiety.

  11. Original T.C. says:

    Exotic twist? Because she’s not 100% Anglo Saxon? So apparently she’s too short, overweight and not all American enough. Wow.

    • Flora says:

      She’s not American at all, except for her passport. She’s Dutch and Palestinian. If you put her in a typical Dutch town, she wouldn’t stand out at all.

      • OhDear says:

        So what is American to you?

      • Anilehcim says:

        She is American, because she was born and raised in America and that’s how that works. She is of Dutch and Palestinian descent. Also, Anglo Saxon, or “WASP” does not automatically mean American. Anglo-Saxons have British backgrounds, and originated in England. In today’s world, people who have Anglo-Saxon roots might live in America, but the two are not automatically synonymous.

      • ell says:

        ‘She’s not American at all, except for her passport.’

        so, if being and born and raised in america and having an american passport doesn’t make you american, what makes an american and american to you? i’m really curious.

      • Lee says:

        True that she would blend into any white majority country (I mean, she *is* white with a dutch mum and white arab father), but she is American. In fact she’s All American in both the old fashioned yee-haw sense and the modern melting pot of immigrants sense. I’m half Jamaican and half Lebanese/Norwegian; half black and half white. I was born in Belgium. So when people ask me what i am I say: Belgian. Because that’s my passport and my anchor, regardless of where I grew up or who my parents are or where I’ve lived.

      • LAK says:

        Sorry to nitpick, but Anglo-Saxons did not originate in Britain. They are actually Germanic tribes and Vikings who migrated/invaded Britain after the Romans left Britain. Their roots are still very much their original territories in Germany and Scandinavia, particularly Norway and Denmark.

        The stereotypical Anglo-Saxon look is actually describing natives of Germany or Viking countries.

        Geals, Celts and Picts are the natives of Britain. They pre-date the Roman invasion and occupation of Britain.

      • Moneypenny says:

        So I’m not American? This is news to me. My parents are from the West Indies, but I was born and raised here. Just because I’m not white and I’m the child of immigrants, I’m still American, FYI.

      • Ange says:

        I’ll remember this argument the next time I see a bunch of Americans on TV claiming they’re Irish because their great grand-whatever emigrated lol.

    • OhDear says:

      I side-eyed that comment as well.

    • Lee says:

      I know. She’s the most All American looking of all the models/instamodels out there (her and Kate Upton have that good gal USA look down pat), but fashion has weird rules. Non anglo name? You’re exotic! Curly hair? So niche! Mixed race? Be our token nod to diversity for one season!

  12. CornyBlue says:

    She might not be model thin but in no definition of the word s she chubby. I dont know how successful the collab is but I bought a coat/jacketish thing from it and it looks so damn good.

  13. Suzie says:

    The Hilfiger hasn’t been relevant or trendy in so long. I wonder if Gigi will manage to make it cool again. Seems impossible.

    And Gigi is as tall as the majority of the other models. What is he talking about?

    • Caz says:

      Hilfiger should just stick with the perfume range.

      That’s no poncho…it’s a crime against Fashion.

  14. Anilehcim says:

    I’ve read numerous times that Gigi has referred to herself as “curvy” and “not thin” and I’ve always rolled my eyes, but I guess it’s true in her circle. I’m glad that she is above that and doesn’t let it give her a complex.

    I’ve never understood Tommy Hilfiger’s appeal. Even in the 90′s when he actually mattered, none of his clothes were special. I assume the attention he’s getting right now i just part of the 90′s revival trend happening at the moment. I see women in NYC every day rocking the old school Tommy Hilfiger sweatshirts and Calvin Klein CK label sweatshirts.

    • ell says:

      ‘I’ve read numerous times that Gigi has referred to herself as “curvy” and “not thin” and I’ve always rolled my eyes’

      well, she’s ‘not thin’ by models’ standards, which is her job, so it’s fine for her to say that. obviously standards for models are ridiculously constrictive and should change, but what she said about her weight needs to be seen in context.

    • LAK says:

      According to her stats, she is curvy. She’s 34:25:35. Aka her shoulders and hips are nearly same width with a small defined waist aka this ) ( shape. Just because she’s tall and thin doesn’t mean she isn’t curvy.

      If she had the standard straight body preferred by fashion, her starts would read 34:34:34

  15. HK9 says:

    Gigi is a very slim woman with muscle tone. I don’t consider her athletic. Serena Williams is athletic. Clearly they are designing for some mythical creature.

  16. bdmc says:

    Under High Fashion/runway standards, Gigi & her sister are overweight & would have never gotten these luxury contracts if it wasn’t for their # of instagram followers.
    They don’t put a lot of effort into being skinny which is a requirement in this industry nor do they learn how to walk properly. Nepotism at its best

  17. Freyja says:

    Tommy Hilfiger is an asshole…are we really surprised?

  18. Lee says:

    I know it’s beyond the point, but it’s so nice that a millionaire heiress gets a chance to walk on the catwalk despite being too short and too chubby while any other model would be sent packing back to their grotty shared digs, put on a quick lose diet (plus receive a warning notice) by their agency and lose the opportunity to make the money that supports their family and pays back their agency for putting them up in said grotty digs and helping them with the paperwork to work in the fashion capitals. Either that or packed up and sent home.

    Speaking as a former model the nepotism models/celebrity offspring models irk me a little for this. I know, it’s fashion, it’s no big deal.

    But it *is* hard work when you’re a no-name living in a strange city (normally in the cheapest districts), crammed in an apartment with another 6 or 7 girls, in your teens or just out of them, keeping your weight down (by fair means or foul) and stretching all the damn time to make sure you look as tall in the PM as you do in the AM. That’s the reality for 99% of the models, with only some breakthrough models and the children of the rich/celebrities not living that reality, and at the very least the breakthroughs lived that drudge for a while at the beginning of their career. I’m glad I’m out of it, but I reserve every right to be snippy at neptism models, and I can understand why most other models also have this attitude.

  19. Dani says:

    True story! His brother is a client of my husbands. He met with him one day and he was saying how Tommy is the worst person, so mean and critical of everyone. So, this doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  20. NeoCleo says:

    I find her boring as a model. I still love her though for giving that fool who assaulted her on the streets an elbow to the face! As for being to “big” to be a model–she’s very slender and has a beautiful shape.

    For gawd’s sake, most of the models on the catwalk look like they are days away from starving to death. A bunch of hungry cats.

  21. JRenee says:

    What a message this sends! It just never ends!

  22. Chinoiserie says:

    Well they could just have been suprised she was not as tiny as some models and did not have other clothes that fit perfectlu on hand.

  23. MoochieMom says:

    I feel like a cow. I spend a lot at those expensive stores who think his brand is half ass – it is. Sorry my ass it too fat for you Tommy. Neimans isn’t carrying you again are they?

  24. cd3 says:

    Ugh, less Hilfiger more Tim Gunn.

  25. Amelie says:

    “All American girl next door with an exotic twist to her look.” Translation: white girl who looks kind of mixed with something else therefore that is appealing? I’ve never liked the All-American expression. What does that even mean?

    • akilah says:

      She doesn’t look mixed with anything though. I think this “exotic twist” Hilfiger sees is: white girl with uncommon in the US surname. If her surname was Anderson, Kirova or Kovac I don’t think people would see this “exotic twist”. She looks just like her mother and a little bit like Arizona Muse, who have never knowingly been called exotic.

      Some Americans and Europeans don’t have any sense of nuance when it comes to Arabs other than othering us. Just as there are white Latinos, there are white Arabs (Assad and his wife are an example; Queen Rania and King Abdullah of Jordan; Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco; the vast majority of the Palestinian government are more examples). We’re not a homogenous brown people just because we’re mostly Muslim. I wish the west would stop trying to exoticize us.

  26. Katherine says:

    I don’t like Gigi but man, thank god for her healthy skinny shape, at least people will now talk a little about how ridiculous those scary-skinny coughanorexiccough runway models are.

  27. MellyMel says:

    Her hair! She needs to keep it this color…it’s gorgeous on her!

  28. raincoaster says:

    It’s not like he ginned up the poncho at the last minute. SOMEBODY had to wear that awful thing. I think this story is BS, just picking fights to get more coverage.

  29. Kassie says:

    She does look more high-fashion now, although the face can be normal sometimes and chubby sometimes. (Today show appearance)

    • my3cents says:

      Her face does seem a bit babyish. I think she’s beautiful, and in a couple of years she’ll be glad she has that baby face.

  30. jinglebellsmell says:

    I think my mom’s 70′s Ford Granada had red seats made out of that material—pleather??? Anyway it looked a whole lot better in the car!!!

  31. mkyarwood says:

    That poncho makes me cry.

  32. Grant says:

    Are designers really so stupid that they think their clothes won’t sell because the model wearing them is too fat? I just can’t fathom anyone actually refusing to buy Tommy’s clothes because he put that 5’11, 120 pound porker Gigi Hadid in them. Get real, nobody notices that stuff.

  33. Kori says:

    There’s a link there between Gigi’s mother Yolanda and Tommy’s daughter Allison (?). The two women both are active in the Lyme disease community and last season of Real Housewives both families were at a NYC gala where they were given awards. Gigi was a prominent speaker.