Tom Ford Fall/Winter 2019
A light purple fur hat, an ice blue silk blouse with buttons opened to the navel, a white wool scarf, and a light purple satin pants – that was the outfit that opened the Tom Ford fall show at the Park Avenue Armory on a raining evening. Gone for sure were the loud 80’s disco music blasting over the loudspeakers, the sequins and paillettes decorating the slinky micro-dresses, and the nod to streetwear with Swarovski embellished sweatshirt emblazoned with Tom Ford Beverly Hills logo – all of that seemed destined to the dustbin of fashion history. Ford abandoned all that glitz and ushered in a new chapter of clean and elegant tailored garments for both women and men with a whiff of the mid 90’s era aura but not exactly a regurgitation of the past.
Tailoring has always been a Ford forte – in fact his menswear collection launched for fall 2008 has always been about strict tailoring not just for suiting but also for the sportswear clothes: a leather biker jacket has to fit like a glove on anybody. The silhouette was slim at the waist with cropped jacket and cuffed straight leg satin pants. But it was not men’s tailoring translated for women – it was defined slim waist and broad shouldered jackets and coats in soft hues of pinks, blues, flesh beige and light gray were made specifically for the women’s body as none of the tailored looks felt like they were men’s clothes on women, just look at the red and black suit worn by Gigi Hadid and He Gong respectively. The tailored clothes looked feminine.
That’s also something uncanny about Ford’s ability to render even a basic outfit such as that opening series of blouses and pants felt languorous and slick. But here and there elements of glam sneaked in like oversize faux fur fedoras, random rabbit fur coats, and those really long scarves wrapping around the neck. The use of leathers and furs here was strictly limited to skins from the by-products of food use. For evening, Ford sent out just simple long silk jersey column dresses many with metallic brass chains around the neckline. And yes there was one diamond sparkling dress which was the closing outfit of the show.
The menswear portion of the show was classic Ford – shiny silk single-breasted suits cut close to the body with a cigarette pants falling just right above the leather ankle boots and great lamb leather puffer coats and hooded blousons. It’s never easy to make a guy looked sensual and sexy in clothes but here with palettes grays and black, the models projected that sense of self-security that reverberate across the vast Armory space.
What was fascinating about Ford’s show was the designer ability to offer the right dose of fashion and an ambient for fashion at the right time. At a moment of real uncertainty in America and around the world, Ford offered a meditative message rather than one of opulence. Knowing how to read the temperature on a thermometer correctly and timed what the fashion should be to correspond to the current times is certainly an acumen and a skill of its own. Not to mention the delivery of great clothes to waiting customers come the fall season.
Photos by Long Nguyen