“Velvet has long been one of my favorite fabrics. Velvet for day. Velvet for evening.” – Tom Ford. Discover the Men’s Fall 2021 Collection in New York.
If not totally accessible, because Ford’s metier is solidly aspirational, the clothes at least seem relatable in how they projected attitude as a person’s best style asset, and tapped into the trends of comfort.
During this mostly digital fashion season, designers have gotten creative with format, making narrative short films, enlisting model personalities, big-name directors and “Saturday Night Live” celebrities to present and make noise with their collections.
But not Tom Ford, out here in Hollywood; he let his clothes do the talking, releasing men’s and women’s look books without fanfare Sunday morning, a date that had to be rescheduled because he had an outbreak of the virus in his workroom.
“After a year of often sitting on Zoom calls without being fully dressed or while wearing the same dirty jeans and tee shirt, I am ready to put on a suit…I think that it is time to get dressed again.”Tom Ford
“Fashion, like the rest of our lives, has been in a kind of suspended animation,” he wrote in his collection notes of trying to figure out what people would want to wear after spending a year in sweats.
His answer? “A more casual way to be extravagant” — stripped down but unmistakably Tom in its wink to sex and nod to ultra-luxury.
Less looks and more pieces, this collection felt tactile and intimate. Perhaps being liberated from the runway stage can be a good thing. And if not totally accessible, because Ford’s metier is solidly aspirational, the clothes at least seem relatable in how they projected attitude as a person’s best style asset, and tapped into the trends of comfort, whether that be a designer hoodie, special lingerie or a power parka. “I mean, who doesn’t want to be a badass — especially after being trapped at home for a year?” the designer wrote.
While much of the American fashion industry has gotten on board with size inclusivity, the Wallis Simpson quote “You can never be too rich or too thin” did run through my mind zeroing in on jutting hipbones. But for a certain set, Simpson’s words still ring true; I was reminded of it Friday when I was at lunch at the Polo Lounge and a praying mantis type in gold jeans tottered past my table. She looked chic-as-hell in what could have been Tom Ford, but I can’t imagine she’d eaten since 1967.
So there were dangerously skimpy leather shorts and microminis, jeans practically bleached to X-rays with the perfect crease in the leg and fringe at the ankle, both with little gold chain details at the waist. They looked cool, paired with a snuggly slouchy mohair sweater in a rich caramel hue, or a rose gold denim jacket (like jeans jewelry, which Ford did way back at Gucci).
The volume on top, twiggy on bottom silhouette played out in a ginormous down-filled black velvet parka over bare legs, and a plush military coat over Tom Ford logo cashmere underwear, Edie Sedgwick-like. “This looks very cool if you are comfortable with your body and have the right under pieces,” Ford wrote, adding the styling tip that tights and skintight pants would achieve the same effect.
The lingerie theme carried through on a gorgeously engineered, puff-sleeved black lace and fishnet blouse that had real attitude over jeans, and a tangerine dream of a baby-doll dress with high neck, full sleeves, and curlicue lace playing peekaboo at the bust and waist. I could imagine it at some fabulous Bel Air dinner party — even a dinner party of two.
He urged men to get dressed again, too, but not black tie. Rather, Ford referenced the attitude of ‘60s dressy-casual (Sam Cooke came to mind seeing the trim pants and loafers, maybe because I just saw the terrific “One Night in Miami”) and ‘80s punk (Paul Simonon of the The Clash with his rebel gaze and glossy leather jackets was on the designer’s mood board).
Nobody makes a velvet jacket like Ford, and this season there were lots and they were easier — an emerald green quilted velvet slim-cut bomber jacket, for one (this shape was good in glossy leather, too), and a denim-blue velvet single-breasted blazer with matching pants, no tie. The colors were amazingly vivid throughout. And for pure luxe, how about a white shearling zip-front jacket, cashmere turtleneck and jeans? Sleek and clean.
Luxe lounge at its best, smoking robes came in tropical floral velvet worn with ikat blot pajama pants and tassel loafers. Still at home, but make it Tom Ford style.