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Byline: Bridget Foley ILLUSTRATIONS BY STEVEN STIPELMAN
Talking With Tom
Ford Disses Fashion World's Cult of Immediacy
TOM FORD: FILM DIRECTOR check. Fashion designer check. Entrepreneur check. Is he also this decade's Helmut Lang? That's Helmut as in the man who single-handedly changed the international fashion system because its then-current schedule didn't work for him.
In a conversation on Monday, the morning after his no-photographers-allowed show (except those hired by the house) that nevertheless had the entire industry buzzing as instantly as one can say tweet, Ford looked as handsome as he did the night before. Then, he had stood next to one of the pair of huge dark vases, his soldierly posture in counterpoint to the perfectly meandering tree branches (bare magnolia branches with pink cymbidium orchids individually attached, to be precise) that flanked the modernist fireplace of his Madison Avenue store, the spot from which he narrated the fashion show that marked his return to the women's arena.
Ford is well known for his savvy, but even by his sky-high standards, this was a coup: a genuine hot ticket filled with magnificent clothes that felt like the party of the season. It ran completely counter to the more-is-more, huge-venue, any-and-all-celebrities-welcomed, beam-instantly-around-the-world current that defines so much of fashion today. And everyone lucky enough to be there lapped it up.
Yes the clothes were news: gorgeous, commercially viable, unmistakably Tom Ford sexy. Karen Katz, who assumes the chief executive officer slot at Neiman Marcus Group Oct. 6, called it "amazing."
Though the collection will make its debut for spring only in Tom Ford stores, Neiman's and Bergdorf Goodman have secured it for fall 2011. "It was more than we could have ever imagined," Katz said. "The suits were remarkable; the fabrics and details, just beautiful. The special evening pieces were extraordinary, but as a retailer, to see the suits is so important. The presentation was unique and so special I'm just sorry more of our team didn't get to see it. We were overwhelmed. It exceeded our expectations by a lot."
"I get fashion immediacy....I don't get the need for this immediacy. In fact, I think it's bad."
Unlike those collections of Ford's legendary Gucci/YSL reign, this was not of the single-focus school of staging a show. Rather, it celebrated individual style, a point Ford made by casting a lineup of real women. Make that "idealized versions" of the real customers he's targeting (not even he can convince you completely that BeyoncA[c] Knowles is just BeBe from the block), a lineup that included a rainbow of ages, ethnicities and drumroll body types. (Mind you, he didn't exactly cast a house, but not everyone had the body of Chanel Iman.)
But if you're reading this now, chances are you already knew all that. The bigger news is that Ford plans to put the X (as in X, you're out) back into the notion of exclusivity. Thus, while he has released a few stingy ambience photos, including the one seen here, that's going to be it for months. Save for phone photos his guests may have gotten away with, he will remain in complete control of all images until he …