F—ing Fabulous. To Tom Ford, it’s more than a naughty-kitsch fragrance name intended to titillate, one that triggered an Instagram frenzy when bottles of the juice arrived with his show invitations. To Ford, f—ing fabulous is a standard of living. Once upon a time, he aspired to it. Now, he’ll settle for nothing less.
Ford’s fashion show on Wednesday night, the first mega event of the spring 2018 season, dripped in FF. The venue, an enclave of allure installed into the Park Avenue Armory, featured a tall white enclosure bathed in purple light and spritzed with you-know-what scent, the floor an expanse of pale carpeting, wantonly unprotected, no cheesy plastic pre-show covering here. It recalled the Tom Ford of yore, particularly his early Yves Saint Laurent shows. To make the cavernous, utilitarian Armory reference the Rodin Museum — no easy feat. As for the guest list — high wattage, filled with actors, artists, actors, influencers, a bevy of cross-generational models and Kim Kardashian.
Also classic Ford: The calculated decadence, rendered in a split between athletic-derived sportswear and power-woman goddess gowns. “I’ve been living in L.A. and people wear sports clothes in the daytime, and in the evening they wear mega eveningwear,” Ford said, post-show. As for his take on the former, “It had to be luxe. And my woman has always been sexy. If you’re wearing some leather pants with just a swimsuit, it seemed like the right thing.”
Whether the well-toned, tony school moms Ford sees dropping off at his son Jack’s school will do so in leather cargo pants pulled up (barely) over a maillot with deep U, implant-unfriendly neckline and high-cut sides remains to be seen. But they may go for a high-shine blue baseball jacket, with or without the lavender leather pants. No one editorializes real clothes on the runway better than Ford.
Crossover of athletica into the primary daywear vernacular aside, Ford loves tailored polish. He opened with a bold-shouldered pale pink satin tuxedo jacket over a liquid metallic top and short-shorts, rolled at the hem. Unlike the old Gucci days when he worked the daylights out of a single look, here he offered options, some approachably chic, others challenging to all but the most secure of attitude and body image: classic pantsuits, dressed-up dark denim, short leather trenches and racy jumpsuits. One, a long, backless drink of water in white crepe, rang the bell of a long-ago Gucci dress with a cutout abdomen. An infusion of wit came in an only Tom take on the twinset: slouchy chain mail shoulder bag and matching briefs worn with a louche pale pink top. As for the eveningwear, strong shoulders and sequined sleeves transported classic draping from ethereal to aggressive, as glam as it gets.
The takeaway was of familiar audacity. Ford believes genuinely in the transformative power of clothes. And he still goes for it.
Immediately after the show, guests reveled at a very un-Park Avenue party. Virgil Abloh DJ’d, but, as headliners go, he had serious competition from the waiters: topless Adonis types in supershort gym shorts, tube socks and sneakers, their look stolen brazenly from Studio 54 back in the day. Boasted Ford: “An exact copy.”
It didn’t come easily. To replicate the original getups, Ford wanted old-school tube socks, to the knee, but his staff came up empty — today’s versions hit midcalf. Someone then thought to cut the sock foot into a thong, thus extending the overall length. Tailored tube socks. Aspiration realized takes many forms.