Remember when fashion was fun? Nowadays all the talk of show-now-shop-now-this and direct-to-consumer-that has threatened to sap whatever glamour New York Fashion Week had left. Then along came .
Fresh off a Venice Film Festival coup—his new movie, , premiered there on Friday to a 10-minute ovation—Ford took over the almost-under-renovation former Four Seasons restaurant space tonight for a dinner and fashion show with enough star wattage to power the Seagram Building. Julianne Moore, Tom Hanks, Alicia Keys, Baz Luhrmann, Uma Thurman, Jon Hamm, and Naomi Campbell were in the crowd, and that’s just for starters.
Ford is indeed the first major American designer to embrace an in-season model. A wave of them will follow in the days to come, Thakoon, Tommy Hilfiger, and others, among them. As of tomorrow morning, the A-listers in the crowd and non-celebs alike will be able to scoop up the Fall merchandise that appeared on the runway. There’s no overstating how radical a rethink this is of business as usual. It upends decades of standard operating procedure, eliminating, or at the very least making more complicated to pull off, the months of attention magazines and online publications have lavished on collections in the past. The idea is to capitalize on the immediacy of desire, and quash the fatigue that can potentially set in when customers have to wait months in between runway shows and shipments to stores. Nobody will know if the gambit works until they try it.
So, how well did Ford do cultivating that desire—star power and a stellar post-show performance by Leon Bridges aside? He cut a nipped waist, pencil-skirted silhouette, and accessorized it with statement belts, knee-high leather boots, piles of bold gold jewelry, and more often than not a handbag. Fabrics felt undeniably Fall-like—painted leathers, herringbones, and tweeds—and the pulled-together outfits conjured something of old Hollywood. The Tom Ford woman is a dame, not the rock chick of his Gucci era. Intarsia color-blocked furs counted among the collection's standouts.
Ford loosened up some more for evening, pairing sequined turtlenecks with long, fringey skirts, and cutting dresses in bright sequins for results that felt both more timeless and timely. Showing them on his ’90s faves Carolyn Murphy, , and Liya Kebede drove that point home. This hypothetical shopper, were she to drop everything and head up to Ford’s Madison Avenue flagship tomorrow, would gravitate towards those sizzling long dresses.
((C) Nicole Phelps for Vogue, September 8, 2016