Tom Ford put his stamp on London Fashion Week with a rare catwalk show last night held in the elegant confines of Lancaster House in St. James, a mere rhinestone’s throw from Buckingham Palace.
In the last few years, Ford has made a tentative return to London – one of his several home bases – with a series of exclusive, invitation-only presentations, but today marked the first full-fledged London catwalk show of the Tom Ford brand.
Of course he did it Ford style, in an elegant ‘royal home’ typically used for international diplomatic conferences, not fashion shows. Those with coveted invitations had to wait in the cold and show their passports or other IDs to satisfy royal security requirement before they could be let into the hallowed halls.
Vogue editor Anna Wintour and singer-actor Justin Timberlake – who is currently collaborating with the designer – sat side by side in the front row, with chandeliers and gold-painted ceilings overhead.
Ford draws a more elegant crowd than many other of the London Fashion Week designers: Many men wore beautifully cut suits and carefully chosen pocket squares, while women wore black outfits set off by exquisite jewels.
Everyone seemed content to sip Laurent Perrier champagne or gin and tonics while Ford let the start of the show slip from late to fashionably late. But, when it began, it was worth waiting for.
Inky black spider-web lace was worked into skirts long and short, with the dark fabric set off by brightly coloured sequined jackets. Elsewhere, the contrast was turned on its head, with a black jacket brought to life by an explosion of vivid sequins stitched in a floral motif on a pair of trousers.
Ford also made use of leopard-printed coats and bright pink fur (faux?) and – in a nod to the 1960s – soft black leather jackets with fringes in the back.
Other outfits emphasised a basic colour palette of black and white in interesting contrasts, playing on a zebra-striped theme.
The outfits were demure without being dull, feminine and flattering without being twee (never a word you’d hear mentined in the same breath as Tom Ford, that’s for sure).
Ford, who keeps homes in London, Los Angeles and Santa Fe, made a brief appearance at the end of the show, wearing one of his signature slim-cut black suits and giving his fans a wave.
The general consensus? London hopes Tom is here to stay.