If there’s one man who knows how to tantalize an audience, it’s Mr Tom Ford. Because, as a New Year gift, the designer has bestowed upon us super-glossy footage of his highly-secretive, high-security showcase FOUR MONTHS after it took place. We’ve endured a tantalisingly long wait, filled with leaks and rumours, but, as the clothes hit the rails in 2011, we can at last WATCH the couture-like collection in full motion glory. It goes without saying that Grazia Daily is giddy with excitement.
The dazzling event, which came to pass in New York last September, was the most-anticipated moment of the Spring 2011 season. It’s the first collection from the designer’s new womens ready-to-wear label after an absence of six years so, naturally, expectations were high. And the result? Luxurious, sexy, and timelessly stylish, of course.
However, not one video could be found to prove it (there was a strict ‘no cameras’ policy on the FROW and security was military-tight) so we’ve only seen a handful of the designs due to Ford’s wish to avoid over-exposure. To ease the suspense, in-house photographer Terry Richardson released some catwalk snaps, and we’ve been treated to fashion editorials featuring Lara Stone and Julia Restoin Roitfeld in a smattering of the outfits, but many elements of the show remained a mystery. Until now.
The video, released on New Year's Day, verifies what we all knew - the show was executed with Ford's notoriously perfectionist standards. What we didn’t know was how fierce Julia Restoin Roitfeld looked in made-to-measure leathers, lustrously made-up with a ginormous bouffant and killer shades. Or the fact Lou Doillon’s tuxedo, Le Smoking, perfectly encapsulated her Parisian chic. Now it’s clear to see why Beyonce compared the show to ‘a performance’ as she expertly commands the audience (er, Sasha Fierce much?), and her strut, described by Hilary Alexander as a ‘wiggle,’ is just as bootlicious as imagined. Never-before-seen footage also reveals the backstage area was a-buzz with the excitable ladies chatting over champagne. Oh, to eavesdrop on Lauren Hutton and Beyonce’s banter…
What’s more, the vive-la-difference ambience referred to so frequently is enhanced by Tom’s ‘Swans’ bringing their characters to the catwalk. From supermodels, including Karlie Kloss, Freja Beha, Daria Werbowy, Natalia Vodianova and Stella Tennant, to A-list superstars, such as Julianne Moore and Marisa Berenson, to fashion icon Daphne Guinness closing the show, each member of the catwalk cast made the moment their own. Rita Wilson leans seductively against the marble fireplace, Lauren Hutton knowingly tips her fedora, Rachel Feinstein blows us a kiss, and Daphne strikes a Charlie’s Angel-esque pose.
Plus, the video captures the intimacy of the presentation held in the designer’s Madison Avenue boutique. The select crowd of handpicked guests (spot Anna Wintour, Solange Knowles and Julianne's daughter on the FROW) cheer on the models who informally wink at them, and the audience sits so close to the clothes, it’s a wonder no one reached out to touch them. And, of course, Terry Richardson can be seen snapping amongst the flurry, capturing each ensemble with his usual enthusiasm.
Although the footage doesn’t allow us to hear Ford personally "talking" the audience through each look, he looks characteristically suave while smiling adoringly at this muses. Here’s hoping the next teaser will provide full sound with the full show, but for now we can enjoy Karen Elson’s sultry tones as the soundtrack – a fitting choice considering the redhead was among the models.
So having seen them in action, there’s no denying the garments are beyond exquisite. The divine blue evening gown sparkles as it shimmies into life, Julianne’s fringed gown quivers elegantly, while the suiting, heavily influenced by his menswear line, is gasp-worthy when seen sashayed with such aplomb – take Amber Valletta’s stunning silk leopard-print trouser suit, for example. It all goes to show that the ‘freshness’ of the collection, which Ford so desired, has been maintained. Now isn't that worth the wait?
And so, dear readers, we won’t hold you in suspense any longer. Without further ado, we give you Tom Ford’s heroic return to womenswear. All together now, * squeal *
by Jessica Vince