A leopard may not change its spots, but a Tom Ford leopard sure knows how to keep them colorful.
Out leopard print came at his Fall/Winter 2018 womenswear extravaganza—and a Tom Ford show is always an extravaganza of the famous, smart, and glamorously accented—held at the Armory in New York City on Thursday night. It was on shiny pantsuits and slinky sweaters, and it came acid-bright in hot pink and lime green. It was even, most prettily, on a tiered, ruffled yellow dress.
The pre-game at Tom Ford is: Who was that on the front row? I did love the people behind me who, observing the flashbulb activity around Zayn Malik, had a collective head-scratch of knowing they should know who it was, and that it was a pop star, right, until someone said loud enough for group clarity: “ZAYN. IT’S ZAYN FROM… I MEAN HE’S JUST ZAYN NOW.”
Mystery solved. And, in a sea of men wearing respectful-Fordian black suit, and white short/black tie combos, he showed that you can wear green—two-tone, jacket and sweater—and jeans and white sneakers, and still hog all the attention.
Alongside him: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Hailey Baldwin. On the decks: a mash-up of “So Excited” to set the party tone.
On the models, leopard just looked like leopard, with a boxy jacket the accompaniment to black shiny trousers. Then there was the jacket with leopard print collars, arms, and then black and blue and orange—like the world’s best camp jigsaw. Leopard-print even came with a shiny, glittery covering, and on leggings. Most fabulously, it came on a red bomber jacket and pedal pusher pants.
That cut and paste aesthetic—with clothing featuring leopard print meeting monochromes meeting bright colors—was in evidence on other items, like a short dress that reminded you of cutting and pasting stuff from magazines from, umm, some time ago. Flower petals, lips, leopard, zig-zags all jostled merrily. One sweatshirt came with the sparkling moniker “Tom Ford: Beverly Hills.” On top of another model’s head: a silver headband, because if you’re going to sweat in Fordlandia, you will do so fabulously.
Adam Selman’s invite said it all. It was like a very cool flier, with love hearts surrounding the credits. Someone may have popped into his locker before school one morning.
He also had the best guest of Fashion Week so far: Whoopi Goldberg. Justin Theroux was there too, and who wouldn’t like to be number three, or even a stray breadcrumb, if those two had supper.
The clothes were Selman’s usual proudly rocky self. You can see why Rihanna wore a custom gown by him, featuring 275,000 crystals, just over a week ago at the Grammys.
On the runway, the fur coat that came in red, blue, and black was fierce, even in a room of fierce coat wearers. The coat at NYFW in February is the outstanding signature of all attendees—that is, non-famous ones, who are chauffeured in wearing pap-friendly next-to-nothing. There was a coat that looked like raspberry ripple ice cream, and off-the-shoulder dresses in many kinds of prints, most notably yellow and mauve geometric. A dark black trouser suit with cut-away arms came with a hot pink shirt.
There were shiny red jackets and trouser suits, bold-colored long shirts, and homages to Pop Art on a blouse emblazoned with “BLAM!”
If Ford loved his leopard, Selman stayed true to the tiger, but like Ford went for a silvery showstopper—this time in a short party dress. If the just-as-colorful makeup looked familiar, it was reportedly inspired by the frosted theatrics of I, Tonya. —Tim Teeman
One of the earliest innovations in making textiles was knitting. It preceded woven fabrics and is one of the foundations that gave way to clothing and fashion as we know it today. Yet in most closets, knitwear is relegated to T-shirts, leggings, chunky winter sweaters, and cardigans.
Knitwear was due for some innovation, and the dynamic duo behind PH5 are here to meet that need. Creative designer Mijia Zhang and founder Wei Lin brought a youthful and eye-popping collection to NYFW on Thursday afternoon, hosting a presentation at the Samsung 837 “immersive experiential space.”
The crowd, the clothes, and the designers were a heady mix that felt extraordinarily forward-thinking and fresh, with zero pretension or artifice. The show’s inclusion of non-professional models was a celebration of women: a quiet but powerful statement that women can be both beautiful and stylish, and exist in the world in positions of power and strength.
Notables who posed in the brand’s presentation included Kimberly Drew, aka Musuemmammy, the official social media editor for the Met Museum, who looked smashing in a one-legged jumpsuit and thigh-high knitted shoe coverings that were specially made to fit over heels. Kahlana Barfield-Brown, fashion and beauty editor-at-large at InStyle, wore a playful mohair color block sweater, and Nowell Boardman, a pediatric NICU nurse, wore a color-blocked tank dress. De’ara Balenger, who worked on Hillary Clinton's campaign and is an activist and lawyer, wore a down jacket and a ribbed skirt that created the illusion of pleats, which felt very Elsa Schiaparelli.
The relationship between technology and fashion was more than nodded to, not only in the clothes but also in the inclusion of two young ladies from Girls Who Code who sat up front in the presentation. One wore a bright lipstick red knitted dress with overlength sleeves and a high side slit, and the other a light gray asymmetrical sweater, literally and metaphorically embodying the tangible result of girls who know how to code.
The duo behind PH5 are also themselves strong testaments to the idea that girls can code. Technologically, the collection is marked by innovation in the field of knitwear. Founder Wei Lin pointed out that one of the garments on display—a sheer jumpsuit made from merino wool–is an entirely new textile made from a yarn that they just recently developed, a feat for anyone but a nearly a coup for such a young label only in its fourth year.
Speaking with The Daily Beast, Lin said: “We are girls who code too.. The truth is we work with engineers and computers and coders, and we do a lot of bugging and debugging, and coding everything and running everything on machines and testing, so that’s the message, which is why I think ‘Girls Who Code’ makes perfect sense.”
Talking more about their particular take on knitwear, Lin said: “We want to give voice to knit and tell people knit can be seasonless… There aren’t that many kinds of lighter knitwear, and we love lighter and what it is doing to knitwear. It’s making it so interesting and archetitual, and everything is so beautiful and complicated and innovative, and we want to be like that, for the younger generation and to bring playfulness, more color, something different, and push the boundary of knitwear.” —Sarah Shears