It's clear that Tom Ford loves instant gratification. The Los Angeles-based designer/director has become one of the first at New York Fashion Week to launch a full-scale runway show of luxe looks, with everything immediately available to well-heeled customers.
Amid a star-studded crowd that included Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Julianne Moore, Rita Ora, Naomi Campbell, Jon Hamm, Cindy Crawford, Neil Patrick Harris, Carmelo Anthony, and Zayn Malik — all dressed by Ford — the designer presented his men's and women's fall/winter collection during an intimate dinner at the former Four Seasons restaurant.
While many other designers are showing spring 2017 styles that will be in stores in six months, Ford is joining a small but growing number of designers who are debuting collections to coincide with delivery in stores immediately. The Tom Ford collection shown in New York and webcast on Tomford.com is now available in his Tom Ford boutiques in Dallas and Houston, as well as large stores like Neiman Marcus.
Ford's philosophy of "see-it-now, buy-it-now" is revolutionary because it doesn't depend on magazine spreads that are shot months earlier to generate enthusiasm. Instead, it acknowledges that in the age of social media, where everything is available immediately, there's no reason to wait.
Some critics believe, however, that such an attitude is going to dampen creativity, because under the current system, designers are encouraged to show edgier runway looks, even if they are never produced. Instead, retailers meet with designers afterward to make adjustments — raising a neckline and lowering a hemline — so the collection is more sellable. With looks going directly from the runway to the stores, some fear designers will play it safer and safer each season.
Ford knows his customer well, though, and his '70s-tinged fall collection of slinky long-sleeve sequined gowns, animal-print dresses, white-on-white jackets, wildly colored velvet blazers, and oversized overcoats is sure to entice loyal fans.
And this year, Ford, who usually dresses a handful of top Oscar nominees, might be up for a big award himself. His new film, Nocturnal Animals, starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, got rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival.