Like most if not all designers, I would assume, Tom Ford had a tough time getting started on his Spring 2021 collection during lockdown — both physically and mentally. His stores and sample rooms were closed, there was nothing to get dressed for, and he wasn't feeling inspired.
Ford opened up about these feelings in a pretty candid, lengthy and at times funny statement accompanying the collection. (He even offered some insight into his own quarantine dressing uniform: a Canadian tuxedo with trainers. He also wrote that he started to hate Zooms because "it meant washing my hair and perhaps trimming my beard.")
He was bogged down by the news. "The thought of designing a collection seemed frivolous when so many important and disturbing things were happening in our world," he explained. "As this all dragged from spring into the summer and as I think we could all feel a global depression [both financial and psychological] worsening I thought about skipping the season altogether. After all when no one can go out of their house, who needs new clothes?" At one point, the CFDA chairman even felt that fashion, as a whole, should "go into hibernation."
Ultimately, things got to a point where he was able to have friends over in Los Angeles for socially-distanced dinners (where was my invite, Tom?) and started to sense that, at least to some degree, people were starting to want to get dressed again.
"There was a light at the end of the tunnel. Or at least an imaginary light: the hope of a happier time to come," he wrote. "That is what this collection is for me: the hope of a happier time. Still a somewhat casual moment as it relates to fashion but a time in which we need clothes that make us smile. Clothes that make us feel good."
The collection he did manage to put together is filled with loose, easy silhouettes but rendered in brightly colored, spring-y floral and animal prints. There are caftans for lounging by the pool, actual sweatpants and roomy silk trousers with logo waistbands that are sure to be a hit on Instagram, street style, editorial — or whatever visual media we're consuming come spring. There are also lots of desirable handbags, many of them small and fairly minimalist.
Unsurprisingly for Ford, there's a strong '70s tinge to the range. He wrote that it came from a documentary about famed fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez, one of "the hundreds of television shows and films" he watched in quarantine. In particular, he loved Lopez's depictions of model Pat Cleveland, whom Ford once photographed (he describes her energy by saying that she made him feel like he was doing cocaine all night) — especially her bold makeup.
"I think that months and months of looking at people on Zoom with no makeup, dirty hair and bad lighting have made me long for the indulgence of full on makeup," Ford wrote. "Even in jeans and a tee shirt, makeup can be an inexpensive way of feeling like perhaps there is a party to go to even if there is not. And it does of course look great on Zoom."
So take notes, folks: Tom Ford wants you to wear more makeup on Zoom. And in these trying times, I'm sure he'd like it if you bought his.
Check out his Spring 2021 collection in the gallery below.