Tom Ford creates a plush cocoon for Autumn/Winter 2019
It looks like Tom Ford is tired of the political turmoil currently playing out in the news and has taken refuge this season in an Autumn/Winter 2019 collection that seeks to play the role of a glamorous safety blanket.
In a runway show staged at the Park Avenue Armory, walls splashed with pink light framed a plush carpeted runway, bringing to mind a kind of neon womb surrounding the show's co-ed cast of models.
The night’s looks were anchored in Ford’s unquestionably impeccable tailoring, which was applied to a range of velvet, satin, silk jersey, crepe de chine, chiffon and more – throw a dart at a wall of the softest fabric swatches and whatever you hit likely made an appearance on this season's Tom Ford runway. Physically subdued fabrics were met with equally safe cuts, and while the construction was beautiful, risk was rather lacking.
Women’s suits styled well-fitted jackets above billowing trousers and slinky skirts, with model Gigi Hadid sporting a particularly glowing number that paired a sensuous red velvet jacket with a contrasting bright red pair of silky, ankle-length pants.
As an ambient cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” played, luxurious button-down blouses and loosely wrapped scarves fluttered past, sported by models with furry brimmed hats cocked over their eyes.
Certain looks featured clashing reds and pinks in an homage to Yves Saint Laurent, while others paired shimmering earthy green tones with sweet lilac purples. Even gowns accented with chain hardware appeared languorous, with the metal's pinky-purple iridescence making the links lose an edge that could have provided an interesting note of defiance to the collection.
Men’s looks featured a similar simplicity, ease and elegance; a full suit in champagne, another in a shark-like blue-grey and a classic Tom Ford pinstripe number all fit to perfection. A handful of men's cocktail jackets from the collection featured a foggy print that gave the effect of moody cotton candy from afar, while some male models sported the signature look of the glamorous-yet-stressed out: designer hoodies under shiny puffer coats.
Pulling inspiration from the designer’s relatively new home of Los Angeles, the complete collection’s color palette was dominated by sweet shades of pale blue, caramel and sugar pink as well as warm dove grays, plums, browns and deep burgundy shades, while black stood as a symbolic anchor. Visually, not a feather was ruffled.
The show closed with a dazzling full-length crystal gown, which gently twinkled into the distance as the model made her way backstage.
The show was received well by its eclectic audience, which included the likes of Courtney Love, Karlie Kloss, New York Fashion Week: Men's ambassador Billy Porter and Odell Beckham Jr.
Indeed, Ford’s feet were firmly planted on the ground this season as the designer played admirably to his strengths, but the clothing’s underlying call for security hit like a velvet hammer.
“The chaos and the negative climate of the times in which we are living made me long for clothes that are gentle, not aggressive and have a certain simplicity,” Ford said. “That outward simplicity however is created in a highly labor intensive manner as garments are lined and faced in silk and a great deal of handwork is used to create the seemingly simple silhouette and in many cases the true luxury of the garments is hidden in their construction.”
Last year the designer pointed out that digital was now the company's fastest growing channel and the brand has since been busy seriously upping its game in online retail, with the launch of a UK e-commerce site, for example. It's a strategy that seems to have paid off as the label was recently revealed to be the most searched for luxury brand in Europe, ahead of Gucci, Chanel and Prada.
Ultimately, the brand's latest show channeled understated luxury and there are no grave complaints that can be made in response to a collection built on a foundation of skill and balance. Still, one can’t help but wonder if Ford might find some value in reigniting a bit of fire in his gut.
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