THE BLOG
04/16/2014 02:52 pm ET | Updated Jun 16, 2014

My Favorite Style Icons

Since founding my namesake brand in 1985, I've continued to look at my key sources of inspiration through a new lens each season. I built my brand on the East Coast Ivy League look -- it's heritage prep and, above all, classic Americana. Each season my collections are rooted in this tradition, always with a modern twist. With the Spring 2014 To Tommy, From Zooey capsule collection, designed in collaboration with Zooey Deschanel, I've had a chance to revisit some of my earliest inspirations and favorite style icons, and reinterpret these influences with a fresh perspective.

I love looking at the silhouettes, colors, prints and fabrics worn by idols, from Grace Kelly and Jackie Onassis to modern day trend-setters like Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jessica Alba and Zooey Deschanel. I've always been a fan of Zooey's unique, timeless style, and after meeting her at a brunch in Los Angeles last year, I asked her to collaborate on designing a collection of feminine, playful dresses and accessories. Following red carpet launch events in LA and Mexico City last week, the To Tommy, From Zooey capsule collection is now available online and in select Tommy Hilfiger and Macy's stores. It combines Zooey's youthful, vintage-inspired style with the classic, American, cool spirit at the heart of our brand.

The clean-cut look of the 1960s was at the center of our design philosophy for the To Tommy, From Zooey capsule collection. My ultimate all-American style icon from that era is Jackie Kennedy, who defined glamour and grace. Jackie proved simple can be elegant; she knew how to wear clean lines and monochromatic pieces in a way that was still interesting. Her fashion legacy lives on in oversized sunglasses, capri pants, shift dresses and pillbox hats, which she single-handedly introduced to American fashion.

I've also always admired Grace Kelly, who had a fairytale life and the style to match. Her V-neck gowns, skirt suits and ladylike pearls gave her a sophisticated, understated elegance. Grace's eye for fit and fabric was incredible; she knew how to effortlessly combine that "girl next door" charm with a hint of mystery.

Audrey Hepburn was also a timeless beauty. She wasn't afraid to experiment and didn't shy away from menswear -- some of her best looks were tailored cropped pants, penny loafers and t-shirts. Marilyn Monroe was also a fashion role model in her own right; most people immediately think of her in that iconic white dress from The Seven Year Itch. Marilyn proved that the secret to great style is confidence, which remains one of my mottos for dressing today.

The 1970s was a fantastic decade for fashion; I had just moved to New York to pursue a career as a designer and was inspired by the rise of icons like Farrah Fawcett and Ali McGraw. Aside from Farrah's signature blonde hair, she was a renowned trend-setter in the height of Charlie's Angles for making high-wasted jeans and plaid shirts the must-have pieces. I also admired the way Ali embraced '70s style, from micro shorts to boho prints.

The 21st century is producing its own style icons. I think Charlotte Gainsbourg has a great look that's effortless and cool; she sticks to simple, monochromatic pieces but always gives them an edgy twist. I've also had the pleasure of working with Jessica Alba, who's like a modern-day Grace Kelly with her "girl next door" look. Jessica knows how to mix patterns, prints and colors for a style that's sometimes preppy, sometimes more rebellious and always feminine.

And of course, there's Zooey Deschanel. When we started designing our capsule collection, we looked through all the styles Zooey has been wearing recently, and identified the key silhouettes and details she loves. Then we looked at everything through the lens of the Tommy Hilfiger brand DNA. We incorporated our signature red, white and blue, and combined vintage-inspired silhouettes with preppy accents to create this collection, which Zooey describes as "modical" -- a mix of mod and nautical influences. Zooey and I are both so excited by the outcome. The collection is very '60s inspired, which you can see it in the fun patterns and the short hems. The aesthetic is fun, classic and effortless -- in that sense, it reflects attributes that all my style icons have embodied over the years. After all, trends come and go, but great style is forever.