True to form, Tom Ford closed out New York Fashion Week Spring 2023 with an over-the-top bang, with sexy, sultry and inventive skin-baring looks, plus a mélange of seductive vibes. Think: Studio 54 hedonism meets Baz Luhrman’s outrageous Elvis meets, of course, Classic Tom Ford™ — i.e., louche, longline suiting, luxe, but cheeky (in more ways than one) sportswear and excessively glam evening gowns.
Representing the Supermodel Era — but for the Instagram and TikTok generations — Bella and Gigi Hadid walked the runway, while superstar headline generators, like Madonna and her kids Lourdes Leon and Rocco Ritchie, Chris Rock, the newlywed Peltz-Beckhams, and O.G. supe Pat Cleveland sat in the front row. The floor-to-ceiling-to-runway mirrored interior of Skylight on Vesey enhanced the collection’s all-around dazzle factor, while feeling figuratively reflective for the finale of a full-blown, in-person and ultra-celebratory NYFW.
Ford’s raucous soundtrack came straight from the free-spending, The Wolf of Wall Street ‘80s; kicking off the show with a bombastic remix of Robert Palmer’s 1986 bop, “Addicted to Love.” (The show venue, fittingly, used to be the trading floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange, and a day earlier, paps spotted the elder Hadid with serial modelizer Leonardo DiCaprio, who played Jordan Belfort in the aforementioned Scorsese film. So really sensing a trend here.)
Ford’s first look gave a top-line preview of the collection motifs: a pink lurex and wide peak lapel blazer, over a sheer bra accented with a pair of silver stars, and black low-rider cargo shorts, covered with a smattering of colorful sequin patches. From there, Ford explored new ways to play with sparkle and skin: sporty mesh tops with abstract — and strategically placed — crystal embellishments, glittering low-slung tapered trousers with a shimmering elastic waistband of metallic boxer briefs peeking out, and opulently accented track-sets, with the tiniest of athletic shorts.
Ford put his spin on the rock ‘n’ roll theme by making a traditional Western shirt more luxurious with high-contrast cream embroidery, and paired the style with black slouchy leather pants. He also played with texture by adding leather fringe — and a Tom Ford logo tag — to a crisp lilac button-up tucked into the illusion boxer-tapered trousers. Additionally, pair of metallic-threaded and crystal-beaded velvet shirt and short-short sets, in blue and red, also stood out in the line-up. The ‘80s-reminiscent (but actually circa-2020) song, “Living in a Daydream (Step Into the ‘80s)” by Matthew Goodman felt appropriate for fresh updates on classic themes.
Of course, classic black is anything but basic for Ford, whether with animal prints subtly glimmering on tailored suiting and shirting, or with croc-embossed Matrix-y longline jackets — all backed to the 1984 synth-pop hit “Take On Me” by A-ha (which still slaps). Lace elements both softened and sexed-up a look, like a leg-baring asymmetrical guipure skirt paired with a sheer shirt and bra top, or a voluminous patent leather croc-embossed moto, over a barely there delicate lace g-string (or lace-paneled boxers with a logo-waistband for another interpretation).
We should also discuss the lustrous accessories, which, true to form, also hit the extremes, like towering cone-heels, platform pumps — and just as sexy, but more walkable, low-stacked heels — and over-the-knee boots. As for bags, there's the demure front-flap chain-link shoulder bag, a playful chain-mail with sequined stars and hearts and an oversize black leather belt-pack, but slung off the shoulder like a tote.
The looks evolved into formal-wear, as the pensive sounds of Freddie Mercury’s 1986 solo outing, “Time Waits for No One” filled the buzzy room — perhaps a personal ode from Ford, whose husband, journalist Richard Buckley, died last year. Leading to the close, industry pros Liya Kebede and Joan Smalls strutted down the runway in cut-on-the-bias, slashed and sheer-paneled black evening gowns, recalling the ‘70s, while the Hadids followed in almost armor-like paillette-encrusted and skin-baring disco mermaid confections.
“Addicted to Love” blasted again from the speakers, as Ford, in his signature black suit and sunglasses, appeared at the top of the runway for his bow — revisiting and celebrating another classic.