In the lead-up to New York Fashion Week, many opinions were shared about the fact that Tom Ford, chairman of New York fashion's governing body, the CFDA, would be showing his Fall 2020 collection in his home base of Los Angeles — on NYFW's first official day, no less.
"Did Tom Ford betray New York Fashion Week?," asked Business of Fashion. "Tom Ford stuck a dagger in the heart of New York Fashion Week," wrote Christina Binkley for Vogue Business. He's become this season's face of an upswell in less-than-enthusiastic sentiment around NYFW and the questioning of its relevance and value. But at Ford's show, held at Milk Studios in Hollywood Friday night, it was immediately clear that no other option could have been better for the designer's brand and business.
The luxury label has always been a celebrity favorite, but when he holds a show in L.A. two days before the Oscars, the limit to how much star power he can command seemingly does not exist. From Jennifer Lopez and Renée Zellweger to Miley Cyrus and Lil Nas X to James Corden and Jon Hamm, even the most jaded of Angelenos couldn't help but do a bit of rubbernecking throughout the evening. And the power Ford attracted was not limited to actors and musicians: To Alex Rodriguez's right (past Tracee Ellis Ross) were Jeff Bezos and Anna Wintour, just one of several high-profile N.Y.-based editors who made the quick trip out West just for Ford. There were so many power players, some marquee names were even relegated to the second row.
Still, the whole event had a level of luxury and civility to it that you don't typically find at New York Fashion Week. It began with a red carpet and cocktail hour, which New York showgoers don't have time for. (Even those of us who aren't household names got to sit on white velvet couches in chic little custom-built "boxes" above the front row, each with its own server and bar.)
Yes, it offered a great view of the celebs, but also of the clothes, which featured tons of Ford's signature glitz and glam, with streetwear elements mixed in, à la Spring 2020 — think sweatsuits under chic, oversized leopard-print coats and cut-off sweatshirts over colorful fringed gowns that moved beautifully. Trousers were high-waisted but very baggy, and bags were oversized, often with big, bold logos. Also oversized: brightly colored feathered earrings paired with many looks.
There were clear attempts at mixing good and bad taste, which worked better in some looks than in others. In the daywear portion of the show, the strongest looks featured well-tailored velvet separates in bright colors like turquoise and fuchsia.
To be frank, the collection was at risk of being overshadowed by all the stars until the evening wear section, which also brought the star power to the runway. It opened dramatically with Bella Hadid walking out in a slinky, sparkly, slightly sheer gown adorned with perfectly-placed velvet bows. (Zoë Kravitz came to mind as the star I'd most like to see wear it on Sunday.) She was followed by sister Gigi and bestie Kendall Jenner in similarly sexy gowns.
Ford has pretty much tried it all when it comes to rethinking the traditional show format: a VIP-only show, a video starring Lady Gaga, "see-now-buy-now", the literal NYC subway. This was his second time doing a pre-Oscars L.A. show and if the timing works out again, we bet it won't be his last — NYFW be damned.
See every look from Tom Ford's Fall 2020 collection in the gallery below: