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Tom Ford - FALL 2021 MENSWEAR

“Who doesn’t want to be a badass?” Tom Ford’s fall 2021 notes read. “Especially after being trapped at home for a year.” Ford may be one of the most famous names in fashion, but he’s experienced the complications of pandemic lockdowns just like the rest of us. The chairman of the CFDA had the closing spot on New York Fashion Week’s abridged virtual schedule this season but was forced to postpone the delivery of these images twice due to circumstances related to COVID. Ford lives in Los Angeles now, but his design studio is still in London, which adds a layer of complexity to his situation.

But back to being a badass. He conjured the attitude here with a women’s collection that’s at once more provocative than any he’s shown in years but also reflective of new corona-time dress codes. “The slight deconstruction of luxurious pieces is something that I feel will be a legacy of the pandemic for a few seasons to come,” he wrote. Meaning, frothy Zoom tops in lace and net were paired with bleached jeans, and dresses took their cues either from stretchy activewear or lingerie. Ford’s new hot pants, worn with turtleneck sweaters and puffer or aviator jackets, might actually be hotter—as in more micro—than anything he ever did in his very hot days at Gucci.

Ford said the oversized jackets and underwear combos sprung from a lingerie ad he remembers from his youth. “It was also a very Edie Sedgwick thing to do,” he added. But equally it’s a thing that young women were doing all last summer in New York—wearing bikini and bra tops with baggy jeans and longer skirts on the street. Another legacy of the pandemic will be the return of sexy.

The men’s look book includes three loungewear outfits that combine softly structured robes, button-front shirts, and elastic-waistband pants stitched with Ford’s logo. Ford himself, however, has been a jeans, T-shirt, and denim shirt guy over the course of the pandemic. On a call before the holiday release of his new Ocean watch in November, he memorably riffed, “I don’t love jersey. I want my body contained in something semi-rigid. Like, in a sweater I feel really weak. I do a huge knitwear business, and I like it on other people, but I don’t feel good in knitwear. I like structure.”

His exacting and exuberant tailoring, usually such a frequent sight on the red carpet—which of course has been another victim of the lockdowns—is one more reason to long for the end of our extended virtual reality. That said, Ford’s silk jacquard evening jackets and unbuttoned shirts would make for excellent TV at tonight’s distanced Golden Globes ceremony.


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