Forget the prettiness of the season: the message here is short, scultped and hard
Last season Tom Ford threw fashion the ultimate curve ball: he gave us epic maximalism in a season whose main address was simple refined clothes, coated in good taste. We watched, agog, as he launched the Tom Ford sequinned hoodie on the world, and couldn’t help but marvel at his sheer audacity. This evening we were anticipating more of the same.
And in some respects we got it. Those sculpted, rock-hard, ribbed pieces that opened the show certainly trounced the season’s prevailing prettiness. They were moulded from toffee-coloured leather and crocodile into short, tight skirts and belted body-con big-shouldered jackets. Then came the monochrome leather that had been zapped with the laser to create black fishnet leather over white –a glossy ‘string’ vest with a short second-skin skirt and the occasional feather courier bag slung over one shoulder: make no mistake, there was nothing casual about it. Taking on the same silhouette – that’s short and tight – came the ribbon dresses in black, white and pink – Ford’s take on the bandage dress? And the crew-neck sequinned mini dresses that, had they been seen in another context (an edgy young designer’s show, for example) would have – weirdly - slotted right in, although they certainly wouldn’t have been made so beautifully; the cracked stained glass effect was dazzling in a Bowie-esque skin-tight jumpsuit.
Occasionally, a really beautiful trouser suit would step out in black – the top half matt, the bottom half in slithering satin, as if it had been dipped in wet ink, or a white tuxedo with a snowy fur jacket. Then the drama cranked up, first with raw edged patchworked silk, or spiderweb lace (leaving nothing, not even a G-string to the imagination) and teamed with corset-laced stockings, or were they boots? Until finally the cobweb lace, crystal and corsetry combined to make three ultra-daring, entirely sheer finale pieces at which Cate Blanchett, sitting front row, serenely smiled. Just who will wear these reveal-all numbers on a red carpet remains to be seen.
As for the rest of the collection, it is better not to judge Tom Ford by the rest of the season, its trends or other designers. He is his own world. And Tom Ford Woman loves him.