Wednesday night’s highly anticipated Tom Ford fall 2016 show marked a turning point for a monster brand and heralded a possible revolution for the fashion industry: the immediate availability of clothes unveiled on the runway.
The men’s and women’s collections Ford showed Wednesday night at the Seagram Building on New York City’s Upper East Side are already available for purchase on TOMFORD.COM, closing the traditional—and in the age of social media, increasingly frustrating—gap between runway and retail.
Lately the fashion and retail communities have been abuzz with speculation about the pros and cons and practicalities of presenting fashion collections that could then be available for the public to buy immediately. For while big luxury brands like Tom Ford can make this process seamless, smaller brands may struggle to adapt. But one thing is for sure: Plenty will now follow in Ford’s big footsteps.
Ironically, even as Ford’s fashion world shake-up marked a huge step forward for the rag trade, the show itself was a glamorous throwback to shows from the last century. In the super elegant room, there were no Real Housewives taking selfies but rather an elite gathering of hardcore A-List titans, including Jon Hamm, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Garrett Hedlund, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Cindy Crawford, Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller [whose IAC owns The Daily Beast], Iman, Joel Edgerton, and Alicia Keys.
It was a far cry from the typical Fashion Week experience, which tends to be packed with huge crowds and standing rows over capacity. In contrast, Ford’s intimate gathering was as chic as the clothing he showed. And the clothes! Very modern, often pretty, and leaning commercial (never a dirty word when commerce is involved), the collection still had the Ford polish and excitement.
The turtleneck, shown under outerwear, proved to be the anchor for menswear for fall. Other standouts included a silk velvet dinner jacket with pop art patterns and an off-white tuxedo paired with matching sneakers.
Ford also showed men there are alternatives with his modern take on a Hollywood pant: slightly wider leg, generous break, yet still elegant. With a nod to the classic, Ford showed an eclectic collection that can make a broad swath of men feel great.
His designs for women—leather with tweed, graphic-printed mink coats, animal-print dresses—were equally pleasing, as modeled by such industry darlings as Lineisy Montero and fashion superstars including Amber Valetta, Carolyn Murphy, and Liya Kebede. But the real standout was the spectacular evening wear: sequin long turtleneck sweaters paired with raffia skirts resembling ostrich feathers when they move, and long crewnecked sequined gowns, which were incredibly sexy without being particularly revealing, a rather rare phenomenon in the current evening wear landscape.
Through an exclusive setting, up-to-the-second designs, and one-click convenience, Tom Ford has truly redefined and reinvigorated an overused word: luxury.