Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tom Ford SS12 - Another Secret Affair

Tom is absolutely NOT doing any more shows. Ever.
That was the word from Ford central, just a diamond ring's throw from Buckingham Palace. Then last week a few discreet emails went out asking selected journalists to a presentation. Then a few more emails went out.
By the time Anna Wintour, Anna Dello Russo, Carine Roitfeld, Glenda Bailey, Harrods and co had taken their seats (promptly at 6pm) the select presentation had become a three-row show.
And quite a long show at that. Alas we can't bring you pictures - they're as tightly controlled as the curves were on that catwalk. They'll be released some time when Ford pleases. Meantime, over convivial cocktails pre and post show, cameras were politely being outlawed. So you'll have to make do with my sketches. Luckily for Tom, I'm lousy at drawing. So you'll just have to imagine how good Carmen Kass's trashed brunette French pleat looked.
Shame, because those were some curves. There's no doubt Ford knows how to harness a womanly figure. On paper - which is all we have, what with the picture embargo - it sounds simple enough, almost reductive: pencil skirts, to the knee, sometimes with a fish tail, tightly cinched in cummerbunds and peasant tops, all of it balanced on delicately sculptured wedges or metal pin-heeled stilettos. This is ground well covered in his days at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. So were the shirts unbuttoned way past bedtime, the tousled hair and the dark rings orbiting the models' eyes (ok they were defined black lines rather than the old smudgy crayons, either way, the Tom Ford make-up range got a good workout). But the lady vamping is a classic, which requires someone to champion it right now.
Besides, on closer inspection - which this show allowed - the detailing on these clothes was way beyond anything he attempted in his previous gigs.
Mesh, marabou, raffia fringing, a candlewick effect which suggested long hours at the hand embroiderers, plaited satin ribbons - these were just some of the techniques applied onto those hourglass silhouettes. Throw in bosoms, cupped in cantilevered chiffon, checks and some snakeskin skirts and it could have all looked a bit much.
In fact there were moments when you found all your taste certainties being pulverised. But that's not a bad thing. Ford is no minimalist (though who knew he had such a crush on purple?) and the heavy garnishing will go down well with all the stylists who were already mentally reserving what they'll shoot. Fashion needs its agitators. Customers - and there are plenty looking for an alternative to fashion's pastel, sporty colour blocking crazes next season - will find plenty. Those perforated leather skirts for starters, the leather bombers (worn with silk or leather jogging pants) and the guipure lace.
Written by: Lisa Armstrong 

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