The designer announced he will show his Fall 2020 collection two days before the 92nd annual Academy Awards Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles rather than at NYFW
Sorry, not sorry. That could very well be Tom Ford’s mantra today when the news broke earlier that he will decamp his Fall 2020 show back to Los Angeles. The designer and newly christened chairman of the CFDA cites the coinciding of this year’s Oscars ceremony on the Sunday of NYFW in February. He will show his collection amongst stars from both the fashion and entertainment industry two nights before on February 7th. The former Gucci designer hosted a star-filled runway show in LA in 2015 when the two events collided that year as well.
But it is also a move wrought with conflict of interest. For years of late, NYFW has seen several top American designer labels jump ship such as Thom Browne, Joseph Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler (though they recently returned), Off-White, Amiri, Telfar, Heron and of course Rick Owens who bypassed NYFW save one season in the early Aughts and has set up his life and business in Paris and Italy.
Ford was voted in last March and began his tenure in June succeeding Diane Von Furstenberg. One of the biggest tasks at hand was the overhaul that New York fashion week needed. Exactly what was needed? A shorter week, a less cluttered calendar and a shot of dynamism that has been lacking, of late, especially with such major brands exiting the first plane to Paris. Ultimately the goal of said task was assuring New York Fashion Week pulled in the international fashion community of rank to foster a healthy economic ecosystem for designers stateside.
Ford’s Spring 2020 show which took place in the subway was very New York. (It was reimagined in a hip-hop mood by Jeremy Scott for the Moschino pre-Fall this week; with so little of authentic New York remaining it’s no surprise that designers look romantically at the gritty NYC subway system as inspiration.) He seemed to be all in. But Los Angeles has always been Ford’s first love.
Not only does he call the sunny film capital home, but the former child-actor also forayed into film making when he left the creative director roles he held at Gucci and then so-called Yves Saint Laurent making two films, A Single Man and Nocturnal Creatures which were met with a tepid critical reaction. His comeback into fashion, which started with sunglasses and a beauty line, has evolved into a full ready-to-wear collection full of his signature sex appeal and perfect for his beloved Red-Carpet dressing for A-List fans and friends such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Beyoncé and JLo among others.
Other NYFW week highlights such as shows from Rodarte and Jonathan Simkhai who are based in Los Angeles may decide to stay given Ford’s power to attract therefore effectively throwing a wrench into Friday’s schedule at a minimum that puts press and retailers in a position to choose. While Ford could (and did) argue that Los Angeles still qualifies under the moniker Council of Fashion Designers of America, having the two coasts showing at the same time defeats the purpose. Furthermore, it signals to put Hollywood and its glamourous Red Carpet – which arguably may be the one lasting gift American designers give to fashion when all is said and done – above the fashion industry as communicators of value. It may be true, and it certainly adds value to Ford’s brand but what does it say about the leadership of the NYFW calendar and the importance (or lack thereof) New York on the international stage to draw key industry players to a week that was already suffering? It’s a bit insult to injury.
With some heading West to sunny California and the others across the Atlantic to Paris, many of those involved in NYFW could arguably feel a bit betrayed by the move. They may even be starting that to hum that 1972 ditty by Stealers Wheel made famous by the film Reservoir Dogs “Stuck in the Middle with You.” But on the other hand, it may also provide a stage for some of New York’s rising talents – Kerby Jean Raymond of Pyer Moss, Christopher John Rogers, and Sander Lak of Sies Marjan among them – to take the stage out of Ford’s shadow.