While New York Fashion Week geared up for Spring/Summer 2017’s first round of shows, Tom Ford was subverting tradition over at the Four Seasons in his own grandiose way. Arguably the most ahead-of-the-curve designer of his time – at least as far as the business side of things go – Ford was first out of the gate to announce that he would be moving forward with in-season shows that would be available for immediate purchase around the world. That means that, while the majority of designers are showing spring collections, Ford showed his Fall/Winter 2016 collection. A private audience of 180 guests gathered at the recently shuttered Four Seasons restaurant and unwittingly became background actors in a cinematic event that was recorded from arrivals to backstage. In so doing, Ford fused his two passions – film and fashion – into one over-the-top, decadent affair.
Fresh from Venice Film Festival, where his new effort Nocturnal Animals won heaps of praise from critics, Ford faced his New York audience with uncharacteristic calm. Instead of frantically preparing for the show, he was in good host mode, all smiles and serenity behind the scenes. After all, this collection had actually been completed six months ago, been sold to buyers, and was sitting on the shelves of Tom Ford boutiques around the world, as well as those of Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods. Online sales were also ready to ramp up the second the show was over.
Shoppers who are preparing for the winter months are shelling out for outerwear and cozy knits right now, not crop tops and slip dresses.
Tom Ford’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection – with its 1940s vixens and polished glamour – offered a pretty good argument for why the “see now, buy now” model is the way of fashion’s future. Although at first it felt like an in-season collection that is out of step with what the rest of the industry is doing, it’s actually completely in line with the retail calendar. Shoppers who are preparing for the winter months are shelling out for outerwear and cozy knits right now, not crop tops and slip dresses.
On Tom Ford’s runway, the seasonal shopper was treated to a romantic display of velvet gowns, feathered maxi skirts, sequined turtlenecks, and tinsel-fringe tops. While hemlines creep up the leg on Spring/Summer 2017 catwalks, Ford’s versions hit right at the calf and came in a variety of skirt options like fitted tweeds and relaxed, color-blocked sequins. Outerwear was particularly strong on his runway and included a beautifully tailored mix of jackets featuring camo or animal prints, glossy tortoiseshell leather coats with maximal shearling collars, and multi-colored fur coats. Although there were plenty of luxurious touches of fur and sequins included in the proceedings, the designer’s softer side prevailed on romantic poet blouses and touches of lush velvet.
Tom Ford might be operating like a man out of time right now, but that’s only because he’s waiting for the rest of the industry to catch up.