Guess Who's Back? A Nostalgic and Captivating Tom Ford Kicks Off NYFW

Unless you had decided to head to the VFiles show, which boldly took place at the impressively-sized Barclays Center, Tom Ford’s NYFW kick off show at the Park Avenue Armory was not to be missed. For his return to New York, Tom came back in full force, combining remarkable design with an array of perfectly chosen A-list models, and presenting it in a lavish, welcoming, and elegant setting.


Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION

 

The Park Avenue Armory atmosphere was rather majestic and absorbing, to where you might have missed the many attending celebrities – from an expected Kim Kardashian West or Naomi Campbell to a more surprising Chaka Khan and Cindy Crawford – or the gathering of photographers around them. From the plush carpet runway and champagne glasses being handed out, to the ubiquitous pink luminescent James Turrell-like lighting, the historic venue (often home to the likes of the Marc Jacobs' show) was hardly recognizable, both in vibe and in aesthetic. The space as previous attendees know it had also been transformed in dimension. It seemed like a typical show format except condensed among the spacious armory ceilings – which shortly after the lights went down on the catwalk, opened up into a luscious afterparty. There, under the musical direction of Virgil Abloh who acted as DJ over a spacious dancefloor, guests were invited to mingle, order drinks, and have a snack. Like the showman that Tom is, this was executed in a tastefully cheeky and gratifying way: think fast food meets fashion with shirtless athletic men wearing shorts and socks, serving up infamous Shake Shack burgers. And yet, even the napkins were classy, with Ford opting for old-fashioned napkins versus cheap throwaway paper towels.

All this – visually and sonically – added up to a mood not unlike the one that might have made certain spots so fun and legendary in the 80s or the 90s. In a way, the same can be said of the clothing Ford shared tonight. Opening the show, Binx Walton – wearing a chainmail top, casually cuffed golden shorts, and pink stilettos – set the stage for what would be a surprisingly refreshing collection. Timed to David Bowie’s brilliantly chosen 'Fame,' the first look somehow encapsulated a feeling that would define the show: a collection which felt feminine, strong, and casual; in whites, blacks, and pale cosmetic tones, punctuated with bright colors such as neon yellow, hot orange, and cobalt; and dipped in an 80s-inspired-yet-90s-feeling nostalgia. And as it has become obvious since his iconic 1995 collection for Gucci, and his more recent work in cinema as director, Ford is someone who has the gift to soak up certain eras of styles and aesthetics, and brilliantly make them his own. Whether sticking to the classics (cropped jackets, chainmail tees, super-slouchy trousers, and of course strong-shouldered blazers) or when adding his golden touch of sex appeal (with skin revealing high-cut bodysuits or dangerously short mini-dresses), the designer took us back to one of fashion’s golden eras.


Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION

 

Organized in two movements, the show switched from day to evening wear. And while guests watched Grace Hartzel and Vittoria Ceretti, tapping their feet to the groovy and upbeat "Pilgrims on a Long Journey" by Cœur de Pirate, they were not expecting a change of pace as the lights dimmed slightly and the music slowly transitioned into an elegant piano partition. This second section, more red carpet than daytime clothes, was opened by Gigi Hadid in a blush ruched gown with sequined sleeves, followed by Kendall Jenner (with her soon-to-be-trending pixie cut) in a sheer black asymmetric dress and by Joan Smalls in a column maxi and satin tuxedo jacket. In reverence to catwalk etiquette, Binx closed the show as well, this time echoing the glam Ford is notoriously known for – sexy, slimming, and with a splice of bedazzle.

In a time when some of today’s most successful designers – such as Demna Gvasalia from Vetements or Alessandro Michele from Gucci – seem to find a stride by modifying ever so slightly a design that has resonated with an audience, it is inspiring to witness Ford taking the risk of tackling nostalgia head-on with such originality and elegance. “Fucking Fabulous” might be the name of his new limited-edition fragrance, but it also easily applies to his fashion design and to its presentation. It’s no wonder he’s been missed at NYFW.


Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION

 

See the Tom Ford Ready to Wear Collection Spring Summer 2018