His evolution from overtly seductive blouses that dared women to reveal more, to suit jackets with “intrinsic value” that inspire women to show off their zeal, marks the return of Tom Ford to womenswear.
Mr. Ford’s personal magnetism is so strong that several of his well-known friends eagerly agreed to debut his 2010 collection at an undercover fashion show in his Madison Avenue store. His muses, expecting to mingle at a cocktail party, modeled custom outfits that flattered their figures, as well as their age range from 22 to 67. Lauren Hutton, Stella Tennant, Marisa Berenson, and Julianne Moore, were a few of the women selected to enliven the collection described by Mr. Ford as being about “individuality.”1
“Women I find inspirational and who are archetypes" 2
Knowing that Mr. Ford considered the personalities of a select group of accomplished women adds intrigue to his collection. Like a private focus group, these women expressed their preferences for his sophisticated suits during his six year hiatus from designing womenswear. Like a director, Mr. Ford created theatrical art by orchestrating everything from the music to the hair and makeup of his performers. The Vogue photos feature definitive Tom Ford details: the commanding femininity of a flared pant leg; the voluptuous wingspan of lapels on a tuxedo jacket; a jaunty silk blouse; and a soft trench coat that evokes the aplomb of an attache on a mission to seduce.3
“Soft, touchable beauty is what I love.” 4
Independence has proven to be a powerful motivator for Mr. Ford since gaining the freedom to design and market his line as he sees fit. He took a jab at the content-hungry cyber beast by keeping his plans for the show private and limiting cameras and phones. 5 Having rejected outside investors, he doesn’t have to devote resources to pleasing the press; only magazine editors can view his next collection at his London showroom.6 At this stage in his career, he’s seems tuned-in to a wavelength that shuns the wired empires of exaggerated female imagery in favor of the nostalgic sweetness one might find in a braless metropolis of a 1970’s college town.
A Glamorous Dress Code
Mr. Ford’s collection exudes glamour. He has crafted a distinctive dress code for women who understand the power of their presence. They have the confidence to wear the open back, silk-tie dress that reveals the sexiest of all accessories: luminous skin. They can strike a killer pose in a feline print sheath, or dazzle their admirers with a talismanic cuff that celebrates the magic of bold femininity.
1 Sarah Mower, "Mr. Ford Returns," Vogue, December 2010, p. 259.
2 Derek Blasberg, "Tom Ford: The Sequel," http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/fashion-articles/tom-ford-interview-spring-2011
3 Mower, pp. 259-261.
4 Mower, p. 263.
5 Blasberg, www.harpersbazaar.com.
6 Mower, p. 263.