Pussy Power. The catchy alliteration appeared in bold lettering on two handbags and a pair of shoes at Tom Ford’s show on Thursday night. One couldn’t miss the unsubtle messaging — political and sexual, with a dollop of knowing vulgarity. But then, Ford has never been one to hedge.
His second show in two days, his women’s outing on Thursday night utilized the same theater he installed in the Park Avenue Armory and first used for men’s on Tuesday, its sophisticated gray providing a calm counterpoint to his frenetically exuberant clothes. Recently repatriated to Los Angeles, Ford is obsessed with the place. It has impacted his work profoundly, even if the clothes sizzle with an intensity to match that of his Gucci Girl, back when. Twenty or so years later, in these more evolved times, the word “girl” is verboten in reference to anyone eligible to vote. Ford calls his new runway archetype his California Baby.
Oh, but she’s no babe in the West Coast woods. She’s allergic to subtlety, with confidence through the roof (long-standing hallmarks of Ford’s woman), a dose of eccentricity and a sense of humor. To that end, Ford co-opted the logo of that onetime bastion of Los Angeles rich-lady style: Giorgio Beverly Hills. He swapped out Giorgio’s name for his own, and emblazoned it on a sweatshirt. A sweatshirt tricked out in sequins and crystals, but a sweatshirt just the same.
Such is an element of Ford’s newfound prescription for dressing by day: the “potent piece” integrated with basics, an approach informed, he has said, by mingling with school moms during drop-off. Suffice to say, that must be some school parking lot. These days, Ford’s mad for leggings, but there are leggings and leggings. His favorites: liquid metallic and flashy animal spots.
In fact, though tempering his use of fur, Ford loves an animalia motif — zebra, snake and spots galore, shown with dizzying fortitude, from his take on discretion, the all-black, high-sparkle look that opened the show, to head-to-toe color — tailored suits in acid green and red; an acid yellow mini shift and frilled dresses in purple, red and yellow, all over coordinating tights. There were calmer moments, too — if one can call a racy black jumpsuit with cutout midsection calm (yes, it harkened indirectly to a white jersey Milanese ancestor). Might this have been one of the looks Ford referred to last week, when, voicing frustration with the state of the red carpet, he said, “There’s some things in my women’s show…and I thought, ‘If someone had the guts, this is what they should wear on the red carpet.’” If so — agreed. Then there were the coats. These were fabulous, both chic shearlings with jeweled buttons and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink collaged wonders that worked an off-beat, tricked-out practicality. Potent indeed.