The Tommy and Dee Hilfiger Guide To Palm Beach
Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger are among the many who make a living in South Florida. During a zoom call, the couple tells DAILY what they love most about Palm Beach, where you might find them and whether they still control these cold weather forecasts in New York!
What do you love about Palm Beach?
Tommy Hilfiger: It is the way of life! The weather! We like to be near the water, palm trees. It is very peaceful. There is not much traffic, beautiful landscape, water on both sides. There are great shopping, great restaurants, great sports activities – it’s just what you want!
Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger: At our age! It is calm and very beautiful. It is like living in a small village. It is less dense than Miami. We were going back to Miami. It ‘s just quiet. I feel European, and I missed it because I spent most of my adult life in Europe. I like!
It is easy to love! Do you remember the first time you came to the Palm Beach area?
Dee: My parents always had a place in Boca Raton, so I went to Palm Beach when I was young. I actually dated someone from here, so I was familiar with that. I was in the early 20’s when I started coming.
Tommy: I probably came 20 years ago, but I just passed. We were here looking at mall locations. I heard about Worth Avenue. Shopping Worth was exciting because of all the little shops you don’t see in the malls. The beauty of the landscape and the houses fascinated me. I had a dream to live here at some point.
How do you dress when you are in Palm Beach?
Dee: Right now, it’s almost the same. We are in lock mode. I’m sweating. I dress in more summer dresses. Coats and sweaters are removed.
Tommy: I’m going out for lunch at the yacht club, so I get dressed today. We do not have winter clothes here. I would say that most of our wardrobe is stored at the moment. I do not even know what to do with it. We will spend most of our time here. It’s nice not to worry about the weather and wear light summer clothes all the time.
Palm Beach has specific colors that belong only there!
De: Like pink and green !? Exactly! What are the colors that remind you of the area? [Tommy gets up to show green and white drapery]
Tommy: Do you like this curtain? [Laughs] Lilly Pulitzer pink and green! We just watched people play tennis on a grass court and they were all white tennis! It seems that you are going back to the past. I see a lot more young people here. Years ago, you would never see someone dressed in black. Now, you see a combination of people who can wear fashion that is a little more international. You see brighter colors and prints. You see a lot of swimsuits.
How do you approach design in Florida compared to Connecticut?
Dee: It is completely different!
Tommy: We start designing a house we bought, which will take about a year and a half. The process is interesting because it will definitely be different from our home in Connecticut and different from our home in Miami.
Dee: The process is the same, but the options are different. You want to keep things light and tropical.
Tommy: Indigenous to the area.
Dee: It is bright, light and cheerful! We use Slim Aarons as inspiration. Palm Beach is a city that preserves its heritage. As Tommy said of people dressed in white, this scene could have been 50 or 60 years ago. It’s fun to be in a city that…
Tommy: Old heritage.
Who are some of your favorite local artists who have inspired you for home?
Tommy: I do not know if he is an artist, but you could look at David Hockney to get an atmosphere of colorful tropical life. Dee said one of her favorites was Gauguin. It is also a blank canvas for us to do now something different from anything we have done in the past.
Is there a book about Palm Beach that you like?
Dee: Hundreds! I have each of them!
Tommy: There is a fairly new Assouline book about Palm Beach that is interesting. There is also the Palm Beach Splendor: The Architecture of Jeffery W. Smith. We have many books on architecture and some of the old houses designed by Addison Mizner and Maurice Fatio.
Dee: This is another quality I like about Palm Beach. It is rich in history and many of these houses have been around for centuries. I think there is a close connection between Palm Beach and its history. My son is going on a school trip today called The Little Red Schoolhouse, and he has to put on 1800s clothes and he can’t put his food in plastic. Everything must be authentic. They must bear fruit like the oranges that were native to what people would eat. He learns this. There is a close connection with the past and this charm of the old school.
What are your favorite restaurants in the area?
Tommy: Lots of New York restaurants – we love Sant Ambroeus, Le Bilboquet and La Goulue. Everything is packed every night. The Palm Beach Grill is also great.
How would you have fun during non-COVID seasons?
Tommy: I dined more than anything else. We went on a friend’s boat two weeks ago, which was fun. We love the beach!
Tommy: We haven’t really played golf.
Dee: Not yet. Tommy: It’s very time consuming. We are busy all the time. We are busy with work and zoom. It is not suddenly that we have all this free time.
Dee: It’s weird to see people playing golf here because we’re Zooms all day. They are obviously retired. Anyone who is not retired does not have time to spend half a day on the golf course. We are not there yet. Maybe in a few decades we will be there.
Tommy: We stayed at The Breakers for a while and you see people going and going off the golf course and you think, “Where are these people all this time?” Eventually we will have more time, but not now!
Dee: I kind of doubt that. You know Tommy! Tommy: I’m a little scared of boredom! How are your eating habits? Tommy: We could be healthier! I think it ‘s just an absolute dismissal. Once established, we will return to a routine to be healthier. We take wonderful walks on the beach in the morning and there is a path around the lake. I did a little cycling last week. Dee: We are on the COVID diet where we look at our watch and it is 4 p.m. Is it martini time?
Do you have a favorite road?
Dee: Worth Avenue!
Tommy: The Southern Ocean is wonderful! Being close to the lake is beautiful. Homes in South County are beautiful.
Dee: There is a path on the lake that is wonderful that you can walk. There are many dogs here!
Tommy: Dee recently said that it seems that everyone has white dogs!
Dee: There are more dogs than humans here. Swear! I have never seen more dogs in my life! What is the ideal temperature in Palm Beach?
Tommy: 80 degrees. He likes Dee warmer.
Dee: I was going to say 78! This reminds me of the Newlywed game!
Do you control the temperature in New York while you are there?
Tommy: All the time!
Dee: The first thing in the morning!
What do you miss about New York when you are there?
Tommy: We are not losing New York right now. Maybe at some point we will lose it when things return to normal. The last time we were there it was cold and rainy. It was depressing.
Dee: And it closed! I miss my friends.
Tommy: New York is New York, so we will always have a love for it.
What are you optimistic about in the coming months?
Tommy: The vaccine to spread and the roars of the 1920s to return, where people are out and having fun, going to parties, dressing up. Obviously buying new clothes would not be bad for fashion people. I think people are looking forward to getting out of their sweat, getting dressed, messing with their friends and maybe celebrating.
Dee: One of my friends here is Iris Apfel, who is 99 years old. She has not left her apartment for over a year. He did not go out for a walk. Nothing. I’m almost a little anxious to go out again and see large groups of people. Even clothing. It seems a long time ago. It’s been a year since we did it. I think I will have to make a rhythm to get it involved again. I am so used to t-shirts and sweat and my life that I have lived now. I have to acclimatize to that.
Anything you want to add to Palm Beach?
Tommy: Definitely growing! Our fear at first was that it might have been too old for us, but we see it living a vitality and a youth.
Dee: There are many New Yorkers who have come to Palm Beach. Everything is here. You feel like you are in New York!
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