london fashion week: tom ford

(images via vogue)

yes, yes, kids, you know why i saved this one for last. to be sure, there are plenty of times designers don’t really live up to the hype–cough, hedi slimane, cough–but then there are those that, with their shows to do the talking, remind us of just why they became so famous in the first place. and while you know i don’t really appreciate anything i’d term to be sycophantic in nature, after quite the slow and mysterious (of course! and that was annoying) build-up at london fashion week (see a/w 2011 & s/s 2013), tom ford reminded us just what we were missing in terms of the old-school action on the catwalk (you know, when a show was really a show, and the clothes had the kind of punch that deserved a runway) with his a/w 2013 presentation.

right, so. there’s criticism to hear! and as i’m sure you want to absorb as much as you can, i’ll just let them be off, and have an end to my talking. anyway, us vogue meandered in to tell us that the designer “cast himself as a standard-bearer for all the maximalists and fun-lovers of the world, dealing out multicolored sequined hoodies and bomber jackets, leopard-spotted parkas, swishing Western fringe, flower-embroidered boots, and pop art Shazam and Ka-Pow motifs by the yard. You might almost have suspected Ford of reverting to his disco-partying years—except the song in the air had the pointed refrain ‘stone cold sober.'”

“The monied Tom Ford customer will no doubt be more than happy with delicate black jewelled lace blouses and also floor length wool column dresses emblazoned with a single jagged pop of sparkle,” gasped out grazia. “More surprising was the eclectic mix of sequinned flowers in ultra-bright colours, bugle-beaded harem pants worn with co-ordinating hoodies (yes, hoodies) and quite the most ornate thigh-boots and matching skirt combinations ever to make it down the runway.”

meanwhile, style reflected that “(w)ith the scene so impressively set, it was intriguing to find a ‘cross cultural multi ethnic’ promise printed on the piece of card that awaited guests when they sat. That seemed somehow humble in such a grand context. But the outfit Liya Kebede wore for the first exit immediately put paid to that delusion. Yes, her top could be construed as a variant of kente cloth. And yes, there was something Inuit about the thigh-high boots. And the beaded flowers on her skirt might have roots in tribal handiwork. But it was scarcely NatGeo that came to mind with her ensemble, or any of those that followed. The cultures that crossed here were glam and disco, Pop and Op, manga and Marvel.”

and according to fab sugar, the range “is a clearly defined departure from minimalism and a serious rebel yell to all-out decadence. Black-and-white deco prints laid claim to plush fur coats, fitted sheaths with frayed hems, structured aviator jackets, and even thigh-high boots. But it wasn’t just a collection of two-toned optics; Ford sent out leopard-print getups alongside bright trousers and even brighter fur puffer jackets. As for the evening gowns? They came slinky, long-sleeved, and adorned with sequined comic-book-like graphic embellishments.”

“Mr. Ford called his full-on collection of beadwork, animal prints and exaggerated furs a cross-cultural mix. But don’t dwell on that. This was high-definition style,” relayed the nyt‘s cathy horyn. “‘Each piece had to be potent,’ he said. The shapes were consistent with recent Ford collections, like the sporty tops and hoodies in his spring line. The silhouette was recognizably Ford, the suits now with skirts that had been notched at the hem. He simply blasted everything with beads and embroidery…with self-editing, you can also imagine a woman wearing a spangled top with a pair of black pants. And I liked the deliberate bad taste of a head-to-toe suit in deep pink, complete with matching boots. It’s loud and proud, a kapow to minimalists.”

elsewhere, art info was one of the few hold-outs, none too pleased with what they say as they snapped out “while everything on last night’s catwalk was impeccably made in surely the highest-quality fabrics on the market, much of it seemed destined exclusively for haute-fashion glossies. It is hard to envision a modern, wealthy woman sporting a blocked fuchsia trench-coat over garish, flower-sequined Crayola-blue boots. It would seem, here, that the amazingly tasteless has thus replaced the tastelessly amazing in Ford-land.” uh-oh.

however, back on the pleasure track was (okay, they’re basically always on about everything, but…you know) fashionologie, tripped that “the unifying theme of Ford’s opus is glamour, but the opulence of this offering was positively unbridled. Ford pulled out all the stops: beading, lace, fur, fringe, and raucous pattern combinations to create a conspicuously expensive-looking collection. And while some pieces — like an intricate long-sleeved black evening gown in a sheer lace — are exactly what we’ve come to expect from Ford, others (fur puffer jackets, beaded graphic silk bombers, and the like) are so outside Ford’s usual milieu that they were almost shocking.”

“To a thumping beat reverberating through the gilded chambers, Ford magicked an extraordinary, gasp-inducing array of dazzling, disco-flavored designs—shaggy furs, thigh-high boots, and million-dollar hoodies encrusted with jewels,” the daily beast shimmied in perhaps a better exaple of the love the designer gets. “There was plenty of print, masses of fur—the luxe Tom Ford kind—and an array of eye-bending geometric designs. The colours were as disco as the soundtrack—yellows, pinks, and orange—but the best was saved to last: drop dead gorgeous floor-length gowns, clinging like liquid Viagra to the models’ bodies, mirror-ball starbursts of gems exploding ‘round the hip and butt. Pure sex. Pure Tom Ford. The only sadness was it had to end.”

and wwd chimed in that “(w)hat was fairly subdued on top, such as a black lace T-shirt, was a decorative binge on the bottom — a purple tulle skirt beaded in a rainbow of florals and swirls and paired with matching knee-high boots. The show’s rare moment of relative calm came by way of a hearty leather poncho with long, Western-style fringe. Otherwise the exercise in excess cycled through printed pajama pants, head-to-toe pink and purple ponyskin, and so on. Then a series of black jersey gowns with sequined starbursts radiating from the hip to start the finale, which ended with Ford. He stood on the runway basking in the flashbulbs and the rain of kisses.”

then, the washington post described how “(s)everal themes emerged, with many of the ensembles featuring lacy black tops and brightly colored metallic suits. Some models wore long, form-fitting black dresses set of by explosive sunbursts of sequined, metallic color. Ford also made use of leopard-printed coats of varying lengths and — in a nod to the 1960s — soft black leather jackets with fringes in the back. Other outfits emphasized a basic color palette of black and white in interesting contrasts, playing on a zebra-striped theme. The outfits were not revealing but very feminine and flattering, with many jackets offering high neck collars and dramatic shapes.

and in a rather puzzling analysis that centered much more on exactly which celebrities lined the front rows of his show, and which of them he has regularly dressed (along with the monetary notes on his label), reuters briefly got around to the point of a collection review (or is it, these days?), pointing out that there was “a procession of sequined bomber jackets, cowhide skirts and sheer evening dresses with fur trims parade along the L-shaped runway, illuminated by roving spotlights.” oh. helpful, non?

ah, well. finally, though, we heard from uk vogue, more playfully stating that “out came shimmering sequin ponchos and tight skirts with curved slits at their fronts and knee-high boots, followed by hoodies and bombers of super bright electric shades and patchwork fur coats that were blingy in leopard or pink or a mash-up of the two. There came fringed leather jackets and tunics and graphic suede mixes for skirts, jackets and coats – and there came lace and sparkly tops to smothered-in-more-sequins trousers. At times the Native American vibe was met with an Art Deco demeanour for black and white strands of beads on dresses, and there came colourful and dense embroidery on full hooded coats.” what fun, yes? yes!

(see a bit of video action here)

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