Last from New York Fashion Week: Tom Ford and Khaite
No Ralph, no Tommy and no Calvin, yet still plenty of action in New York Fashion Week this season, which completed five and a half days of shows on Sunday night.
The final major show? Tom Ford, bien sûr, as the chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America rounded off a busy week of activity. The most complete official calendar – provided by NYFW The Shows – listed over a hundred scheduled collections. Of which the single most arresting in our view was Khaite, the new star brand of the Empire State.
Tom Ford: Instagram individualism in Lincoln Center
Once Tom Ford injected retro American glamour into major league European houses; now he injects European pizzazz into his own major league label. Eighties Italian optimism and '70s French chic with an LA spin.
Like his Capri pant with blazer combos in golden leopard prints; or his velvet moiré tied-up shirts with velvet jodhpur pants, two star looks in Ford’s spring-summer 2022 collection. In an attention-seeking era, he creates attention-seeking clothes. For attention-seeking clients, just like his audience Sunday, who gathered in the David H Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Like the delightfully named Saweetie in a barely-there strung together lace up dress, or Pom Klementieff in a micro zebra-print blazer, or Jennifer Hudson in a velvet dressing gown, silk top and leather skirt - all in Imperial Roman purple. Or the keenest attention magnate all of, influencer Camila Coelho in a biomorphic lace mesh mini cocktail in magenta, worn over ultra-bright fuchsia tights.
The clothes were the sort that made all the models walk from their shoulder down. The accessories were big and bold – chunky necklaces, thick gold belts or shiny metallic bracelets. The more the merrier when the model marches in micro sports bra and parakeet-green satin cargo pants tied with golden straps at the ankle.
Just in case you missed the message, Ford sent out not one but five BTS (meaning 'behind the scenes') event and first looks links. They featured three times as many guests as models.
“Increasingly people don’t dress in fashion for day but only for night. Or for social media. Instagram may actually be what saves fashion in the end. People now seem to only get dressed up in a major way for a red carpet or to fill their pages with shots of themselves in powerfully stylish clothes. Black doesn’t photograph well and so clothes need to be increasingly cartoon-like to have power on the tiny screens of our phones. It is altering our perception of beauty. It has certainly altered mine,” explained Ford in a forthright release.
A neatly honest description of his intention. Though a sincere appraisal of the show would also suggest that this was the least distinguished collection from Ford in a long time.
Khaite: Conceptual sportswear just when you need it
No brand has made such an impact in American fashion this past couple of years as Khaite, the cool conceptual twist on American sportswear invented by designer Catherine Holstein.
Take her opening looks in her show on Sunday – an eight-button military great coat but made in silver satin and worn by Gigi Hadid; or an arty A-line parka in canvas subverted by its contrasting black patch-pocket.
Holstein’s skill is deceptively simple, as she subtly revives classic ideas – like the skillfully draped Grecian muse dresses, revamped with endless strips, ties and criss crosses. This is never fashion with a capital 'F,' but instead clothes that are spruce and sophisticated, that make a woman look as if she is not trying too hard. Like she doesn’t need a professional shopper or stylist to dress her.
When Catherine does an oversized silver baseball jacket for Khaite it flatters and never engulfs a lady; when she balloons up enormous shoulder bags into a giant coils they look quirky, not outlandish.
Her color palette – silver; jade; oak and steel – always evoked the key source of inspiration, the dramatic architecture of New York. Yet, the show was set in a semi-darkness with a sandy, leaf-strewn runway, the mood throughout charming. Perfectly style by Vanessa Traina, with a beautiful piece of casting from Piergiorgio Del Moro, this was just what NYC needed this season, a sultry and romantic moment of grace.
Just a pity not many of us Europeans could actually be present to imbibe the moment.
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