Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger
Deniz Caroline Erbuğ
November 24, 1966
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Occupation||Fashion designer, former model, financier, philanthropist|
(m. ??; div. 2003)
Hilfiger was born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Her parents are Turkish and British immigrants and both moved to the United States to pursue academic careers. Her father, a retired radiologist, was born in Istanbul and her mother, a British microbiologist, was born in Birmingham, England.
Los Angeles-based photographer, videographer, and talent manager Jean Renard discovered Ocleppo Hilfiger and encouraged her to pursue modeling. Renard also discovered and managed the career of Niki Taylor.
In recent years, Ocleppo Hilfiger has become most known for creating and serving as lead designer of the eponymous luxury accessory label Dee Ocleppo, which includes a line of handbags with interchangeable features.
Dee Ocleppo Label
Ocleppo Hilfiger initially suggested that her husband, Tommy Hilfiger, consider a line for his own iconic eponymous brand. However, Mr. Hilfiger convinced his wife to embark on creating a line of vintage-style luxury handbags under her own label. Among stylistic influencers of Mrs. Hilfiger's label, she credits Lauren Hutton, Grace Kelly and her friend Iris Apfel.
Under the auspices of D.H. Designs LLC and with encouragement from HSN's CEO Mindy Grossman, Ocleppo Hilfiger launched her accessory line in 2012, selling her first handbag to the mega-retail luxury department store Harrods. She then opened a showroom at Trump Tower in Manhattan and more recently at Galeries Lafayette's flagship store in Paris.
In January 2017, Ocleppo Hilfiger announced that the Dee Ocleppo brand would partner with the Judith Leiber label, owned by Manhattan-based consumer brand and licensing conglomerate Authentic Brands Group, which also owns Jones New York, and department stores including Macy's, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's. As the new co-owner, Mrs. Hilfiger will become the brand's creative director and serve as its global ambassador.
In 2016, Ocleppo Hilfiger was presented with the "Rising Star Award" by Fashion Group International, the global nonprofit authority on trending apparel, accessories, as well as beauty merchandise and home products. Celebrities who have been photographed/carrying with Dee Ocleppo handbags in recent years in include Pippa Middleton, Olivia Palermo, Beyonce, Alicia Keys.
Ocleppo Hilfiger is on the board of Autism Speaks an advocacy organization of great personal interest, as she and her husband have step children and a child together on the Autism Spectrum. Mrs. Hilfiger has also widely supported various nonprofit organizations through philanthropy and other means, including the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Ocleppo met Mr. Hilfiger while vacationing with her two sons in Saint Tropez in the summer of 2005. A friendship evolved and the couple celebrated an engagement in New York City attended by numerous celebrities and public figures including Russell Simmons, Anna Wintour, and Harvey Weinstein. The Hilfigers married in 2008. Their youngest son Sebastian (born in 2009) is still at home while the family splits time  among residences in Miami, Mustique, Manhattan and Greenwich, Connecticut.
Ocleppo Hilfiger raised her two oldest boys in Monte Carlo after living in Europe for several years. She is a parent of seven children/step children between the ages of 8 and 22, and is a proponent of The Family Dinner Project in an effort to "revive the lost art of dinner conversation." According to her website, she encourages family discussion and discourse without the interruption of cell phones, as one small way families can build cohesion and open dialogue in an age when technology can impede family communication.
Mrs. Hilfiger is a maternal cousin of Shakespearean actor-director Brice Stratford. Hilfiger was previously married to retired Italian tennis professional Gianni Ocleppo and dated British pop star Mick Hucknell in the 1990s.
- Dee and Tommy Hilfiger Host a Dinner to Celebrate the Opening of Dee Ocleppo at Galeries Lafayette Vogue
- Dee Ocleppo: 'Don’t call me a trophy wife' July 1, 2015
- Tommy Hilfiger's Wife Dee Ocleppo Launches Bag Line, New York Post 09/10/2014
- Tommy Hilfiger and Wife Expecting a Baby celebrity baby blog, February 25, 2009
- "Measure for Measure Review" The London Paper, November 14, 2011