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Tom Ford leads off New York Fashion Week with strong shoulders, bright colors and lots of leg

Tom Ford’s spring and summer 2018 women’s ready-to-wear collection, which came down the catwalk on brightly colored heels here Wednesday night, seemed markedly different from the designer and filmmaker’s recent collections.

It wasn’t that it lacked sparkle and sexiness. There was plenty of that in evidence — most memorably in the handful of glittering chainmail mini-dresses with an ombre effect that transitioned from silver at the shoulders to striking hues of blue or yellow at the hem.

The designer’s red-carpet-worthy gowns, a staple of his collections, were here too — the best of the bunch using extensive ruching of delicate fabric to create silhouettes worthy of a Greco-Roman goddess.

While there were some eye-catching exercises in bright color, particularly vibrant pinks and sunny yellows on tailored jackets that might be explained by Ford’s recent relocation to Los Angeles (in a post-show interview he said that living in L.A. had changed his feeling about color), there was plenty of dusty roses, dark denims and inky blacks on hand as well.

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No, it was a slightly more subtle shift, like the change in wind direction that signals a new Southern California season. In Ford’s case, it was that after years of trying to get women to move in his direction, he seemed to finally be moving in theirs.

I was inspired by daytime clothes people wear not only during the day but in the evening — especially in L.A.
Tom Ford

One standout silhouette, for example, paired a strong-shouldered tailored peak lapel jacket with belted silk shorts. Another layered swimsuits with deeply plunging necklines and leg cutouts that arched north of the navel under belted trousers.

“I was inspired by daytime clothes people wear not only during the day but in the evening — especially in L.A.,” Ford said backstage after the show. “Women have stopped wearing day clothes the way they used to.”

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Ford being Ford, the practicality of double-duty daywear came framed in a throwback party vibe. The saucy swimsuit under trousers look, for example, had the practical effect of making the legs look longer and riffed on an ’80s trend at the same time.

“There was definitely a whiff of the ’80s to this collection,” he said. “Where most of my collections are a little Studio 54, this one was [more like] this little club in New York called Area in the early ’80s.”

Asked about the abundance of strong shoulders, Ford said, “I think that feels right. It’s been a while since we’ve seen that.” He paused for second and then added, “It also makes your head look smaller and your waist look smaller.”

In Ford’s hands, practical never looked better.

Famous folk in the front row for the first major show of the September New York Fashion Week slate included Kim Kardashian West, Cindy Crawford and husband Rande Gerber, Julianne Moore, Chaka Khan, Russell Westbrook and Jimmy Iovine.

adam.tschorn@latimes.com

For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me at @ARTschorn.

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