A New Mood and A Cropped Dress, Streamline but Super Luxurious
By Long Nguyen
“I began designing a few months ago thinking that by autumn, I would be in the mood for very extravagant, very worked materials and finishes as a contrast to the simplicity of the pullover sweatshirts that we have been living in for the past year. Ultimately, I ended up taking the upper halves of these handmade, almost couture-like pieces and cutting them into jackets and tops, and putting them with cut-off jeans in a graphic bleach wash that I have been working on. I stripped away the construction and layers of the evening clothes to end up with simple but very delicate and completely handmade slip dresses,” Tom Ford said in a letter that accompanied the release of his fall look book photographs.
Delayed by the pandemic’s impact, Ford’s fall 2021 reveal was supposed to close the American Collections show season in New York.
Ford meant what he said about stripping away the excesses in both collections. The clothes veer towards very fitted, slim silhouettes that hugged the body – think of a single breast jacket as two hands holding firmly onto the body’s midsection – with the sharp tailoring and handicraft techniques that nailed these barely-there shapes.
A mood of the 1960s and 1980s prevails in both collections. Edie Sedgwick, the star of many of Andy Warhol factory films in 1964 and famous the larger children, size skirts worn as miniskirts, was the guide for the women’s collection were the very tight leather biker shorts with brass hardware belts or black leather micro-skirt anchors the collection of fitted single breast jacquard or tiger motif jackets, suede military parkas and even luscious oversized lamb skin puffer short coat.
As a nod to the new ways of dressing, Ford mixes grey cotton underwear and bra tops as underpinnings underneath a charcoal cashmere blouson and cashmere mohair cropped sweater or a black wool double breast overcoat. Ford said he recalled this look of a woman in her underwear and a fabulous coat going about the town when he was young. That memory now morphed into these comfy mixtures that address the bit of breakdown between getting dress up to go out and putting on a quick jacket for Zoom while still in underwear.
Ford did pare down his dresses and, in a way, cut them into a completely different mood, stripping away perhaps the formality of an elaborately ornate evening dress into just maybe the most simple of components. What could have been organza and long lace dress is now a crop zippered evening shirt with black tulle overlay paired with bleach pattern jeans. What was to have been a long black chiffon dress with an elaborate trim detail finish black chiffon long slip dress is now to a super short slip dress.
For the men’s collection that is the backbone of the brand’s apparel business, the designer cited Paul Simonon, the bassist for the Clash whose affinity for vintage with a 1950s gangster looks suits, trilbies, and sleeveless jackets. With Simonon as a guide, Ford crafts the new arrays of long and lean silhouette suits with a more dressy bend. A brass four buttons spread collar lapel double breast jacket with flap pockets worn as white cashmere pantsuit or worn as a separate burgundy jacket with wine wool pants is the anchor of this fall menswear. The latest two buttons made in a variety of velvet for daywear is another strength of this focus men’s collection.
I love that I don’t have to think when I get dressed that the jacket matches the pant. Suits can be armor, but they can also make daily activities seem like an event. I think it is time to get dressed again. Not in a flamboyant over-the-top way, but in a slightly more casual yet luxurious way.
– Tom Ford on his new men’s double breast suits and slim two-button single breast jackets
The designer intended these jackets worn with different pants to convey different moods depending on needs – khaki or charcoal straight leg, black floral print, white leather, or heather grey cashmere drawstrings track pants.
Leathers and shearlings outerwear has always been a stronghold in Ford’s menswear. The shearling blousons in white or dark camel are cropped and tight-fitted with large zippers for this fall. Lamb leather jackets come in a black leather biker or caramel quilted hood blouson. Similar cut blousons are available in heavy suede in charcoal, light camel, or deep orange.
But just in case people are still lingering at home, Ford does not want them not to get dressed. That means leopard print long robes with rusty silk pajamas and floral print silk robe with a circular motif, “in intense colors and patterns, and if you have to stay home, it might well be fun.”
Ford has always had a real sensibility for changes in the fashion mood. His fashions have still catered to how he sees these moods changing over time, for any one reason.
A year into the pandemic, with a bit of cautious optimism, the women’s clothes, with just the essence of design, feel more directly in tune and better in terms of a collection with less of the cumbersome heavy hand embellishments of the past seasons. That makes room for great clothes.
In these streamlined collections, Ford conveys these new clothes to fit into a new mood, recognizing the new reality but not a submission to realism.