Tom Ford. Thou shall not worship false gods, but if there were to be a fashion god it would be Tom Ford (American born, obviously Karl). I remember my first time seeing a Tom Ford for Gucci dress in Fall of 10ATF (10 Anno Tom Ford or Fall of 2000 AD).
I had just gotten a subscription to W Magazine. When the glossy magazine would arrive at my suburban Iowa mailbox even my dog knew that I shouldn’t be bothered. I’d pour over it, eyes open wide, consuming each page. Then I would retreat to the thumb-worn pages of it’s predecessor, the previous month’s issue. With scissors in hand, I cut the pages apart to paste into large portfolios. I still can feel the internal struggle when I wanted both the back and the front of a page (this often resulted in a stapled corner, leaving both accessible). The numerous portfolios can be found in my childhood closet, long ago retired with my purple Singer and a few half finished garments but I know the pages by heart. And the pages were filled with Tom Ford (for Gucci and YSL of course).
His coats, his dresses, his furs, his sequins. They were all so jet set (the title of my senior collection). In Tom Ford’s world airplanes do not imply an unkempt man taking up half your seat, eating McDonald’s in shorts (man-shorts should not be allowed in coach)! No, no. In Tom Ford’s world you’d find yourself draped in a fur stole jetting to the South of France next to someone dangerously handsome, such as an illegal arms dealer, sipping champagne, naturally. And that is what Tom Ford does to his millions of fashion followers; creates a space to escape, transports to another time and inspires.
Playful, tangible daydreams in which to wrap oneself in.
In 2004 he left (women’s wear). Not without an exit, he left with a show that was perfection. I remember trying to get my brother to wear a turtleneck after being entranced by Ford’s in his 2004 show. Gone were the days of white jersey dresses, gone the snake medallions (I wear a gold snake ring daily), gone the luxe shimmering gowns. He gave the fashion world scraps to hang on to; a guest design here or a perfect navy tuxe there and sunglasses that made your own head turn when walking by a store front window.
But now, he’s back! Just released footage of his women’s show (how did any mere mortal get a ticket to that show?) has the fashion critics already singing his praises. His 32 looks were modeled by their muses, from Daphne Guinness to Karen Elson (singing the killer song “Pretty Babies” accompanying the video). Safari, disco, animal print, chiffon, FRINGE!, men’s wear, glam, flapper, exotic, and silhouettes of all kinds. Independent of one another, yet all exude his trademark confidence that calmly says “I do whatever I please.”
And from his latest show I noticed:
Dichotomies running rampant throughout the show. Men’s wear has never been so demure, a cardigan has never been so disreputable or sequences so soft
Intimacy? The collection lacks the carnal lust from the Gucci era, a pinch more of YSL. Not to say it isn’t sexy, Tom Ford could make a pair of pleated front khaki slacks evoke erotica. There is still flesh (and exposed sternums), but while Gucci was flashy skin this is,…intimate…skin. The words are elusive, but just look at the crew-neck blouse made of velvet-embroidered sheer.
Beyonce looked like Tina Knowles. I mean Tom Ford can see things I can’t but it just wasn’t the highlight, personally.
Accessories were not a second thought. Statement cuffs. Enormous precious stones haphazardly strung on a delicate chain, earrings just as big. A pressed bow in a chignon. The hats, oh the hats, seductively tipped to one side.
Boudoir where it isn’t suppose to be. I.E. the front slit of the killer white dress first out of the curtains. Seamed tights (I wore mine to ring in the new year) and pretty bustiers.
Anger that a little girl was sitting in the front row. She has no idea how lucky she is! Who is she, his daughter? Someone tell me…I’m much too tired to be resourceful….
An uncharacteristic embrace of downtown. A leather jacket with a bikini top, a tough chain necklace, or a newsboy cap added an edge to the glamour of it all.