Suave management versus a long wait at the start of a New York Fashion Week heaving with change
Tom Hanks, Julianne Moore, Rita Ora and Uma Thurman came to an intimate Manhattan dinner to support Tom Ford — a week after the designer-cum-director launched his latest movie Nocturnal Animals at the Venice Film Festival.
Meanwhile, Kanye West's Yeezy 4 show on Roosevelt Island featured the famous-for-being-famous Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian, vinyl boots not made for walking, Balenciaga-style parkas and 100 multi-racial young women standing in underwear in the broiling heat, as envisaged by conceptual artist Vanessa Beecroft.
Even if the young models had not fallen on the grass, before being plied with plastic water bottles to persuade them to stand up again, there was no contest as to which designer should have stuck to the day job. Tom Ford was the outright winner on the first day of New York Fashion Week.
Tom Ford: as ever, a seductive class act
How does he do it? When I asked Tom which was more important to him — the movie or the show — he gave me a suave reply: "Both I hope, Suzy". Although I will see a preview of Nocturnal Animals only later this week, early reviews applaud it for being powerful and punchy. This fashion show was an extension of Tom's sophisticated approach. It looked like a story played out on a stage set. And so it was.
The first act was all about the staging: Tom turned the former Four Seasons restaurant by Park Avenue into an intimate club where guests dined before the models – and later soul singer Leon Bridges performed for the select audience. It could have been a downtown club in 1950s New York.
But the clothes were resolutely for now, via the Seventies and Eighties, Tom's favourite stomping ground in his Gucci years. The focus for women was on big, bold coats, like one in white fur inserted with angular pieces in pink and orange. For evening, the look was metallic glitter, whether that meant sparkling silver dresses or a hefty chain on a bared back, as worn by timeless supermodels like Karlie Kloss and Amber Valletta.
Looking at slinky dresses cut out at angles and back-slit skirts revealing leopard-patterned boots, I was reminded of the Tom Ford section recently introduced to the Gucci museum in Florence. Even more so by the men's curvy velvet jackets in rich plum colours worn with trousers taut and tight.
These were nice, if not ground-breaking clothes in Tom's sexy-de-luxe spirit, right down to the shoes and boots balanced on a tiny triangular mid-heel.
But wasn't all this a bit heavy for Spring/Summer 2017? The designer's inventive spirit told another story: the much-trumpeted concept of see-now-buy-now. The clothes are for this winter and will be delivered to Tom Ford sales points straight away.
To have turned out a new movie, following his successful debut film A Single Man in 2009, would have been enough to keep up Tom Ford's reputation. But he had also worked to stay focused, as a designer, on further developing his seductive, super-sophisticated style, when streetwear is sweeping the high fashion world, from Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga to Rihanna’s Fenty Puma “athleisure” collection launched at Bergdorf Goodman. I can only imagine that Tom Ford is a “nocturnal animal” who never, ever sleeps.
Yeezy 4 by Kanye West with Adidas: an over-heated spectacle
There is no doubt that Kanye West is a multi-media genius: in the world of music, as a song writer, record producer and collaborator with musicians from Alicia Keys to Beyoncé and Jay Z, he represents the spirit of our times.
But in fashion, for all his skill at staging, Kanye seems a follower rather than an innovator, someone who picks up the vibe, but does not seed it himself. The set was so dramatic, in the Franklin D. Roosevelt gardens, surrounded by linden trees and the ivy-covered stone remains of an 1856 Gothic Revival smallpox hospital, that it set the stage for high drama.
At Kanye West’s Yeezy 4 show, souvenir merchandise was on sale to guests
Then fainting models, an hour and a half-long wait and boots with wobbly heels not made for walking combined to leave everyone feeling uncomfortable. But the clothes, when they finally arrived, were just — clothes. There were high-end hoodies in furry fabrics, some short shapely dresses and others loose and falling off one shoulder; the colours mostly pale, but also the green of camouflage. There was class in a dark hoodie with furry top and pants. And streamlined sportswear that would have looked better with sneakers than wobbly boots.
Teyana Taylor struts in Kanye West’s Yeezy 4 show for Spring/Summer 2017
Ah! Those Adidas sneakers. On eBay, Yeezy Boost 350 designed by Kanye are on offer at $1,599.99. So, I guess, fashion is a lucrative line to add to the Kanye West day-job portfolio. There were even T-shirts on sale from a security hut by the Roosevelt iron gates. But I resisted buying a memorial of the show.
Models line up as Kim Kardashian, her sisters Kylie and Kendall Jenner, and their entourage arrive at the Yeezy 4 Spring/Summer 2017 show