It's the talk of New York Fashion Week, but unfortunately, for now, the debut Tom Ford womenswear collection can be only that. You've read a million times about the strict "no imagery" rules surrounding the very secret show, and that's not going to change until the images are released on the Tom Ford website in December. But very excitingly, Grazia was invited to a presentation of the collection, and honestly, it will be worth the wait.
Since March, a very small group of designers (three in total) have been working with Tom to create this S/S '11 collection. Not that it's a small collection, it includes jewellery, a large range of shoes, bags, sunglasses and even lingerie, and every single piece is exquisite. Oversized blouses with plunging necklines, hand-embroidered and painted gowns, sheath dresses hand-beaded in dazzling Persian blue, a white leather trench coat as light as silk; all have a 1920s mood to them, but all have Tom Ford's recognisable signature - sex. Not in a brash way, of course, it is more an ultra-feminine sensuality. Little black dresses with waterfall necklines are layered over corsetry, and demure pencil skirts are edged with fishnet and velvet. The suiting, heavily influenced by his menswear line, is so expertly cut that it didn't need to be altered to fit any of the models at the show.
The security around images has been military-tight. Yes, there have been leaks online, but nothing that does the collection justice. Someone even posted an audio recording online, but listening to a perfectly cut trouser seems rather empty somehow... Tom has explained that he doesn't understand the immediacy of fashion and doesn't want this collection to be over-exposed. It will sit with Chanel and Lanvin in terms of price, but for what is practically demi-couture, it must be thought of as an investment (one LBD from Tom Ford and you really won't need to buy another).
This collection is only going to be available in Tom Ford stores, which unfortunately means not in the UK. We will have to wait until September 2011 when the second collection hits Harrods. Although a day trip to Milan really would be worth the air miles to get hold of any piece of this collection.
- Kay Barron