Tom Ford, Kanye West usher in New York Fashion Week
Under a new streamlined schedule that allows customers to buy the clothes almost instantly, he ditched the official spring/summer 2017 season to unveil a fall/winter 2016 collection for both men and women. Photograph: (AFP)
Designer Tom Ford and rapper Kanye West fired the start gun on New York Fashion Week Wednesday, unveiling intimate A-list shows that proffered starkly different visions of women's attire.
For Ford, who premiered his second movie "Nocturnal Animals" at the Venice film festival only last week, it was a triumphant return to New York after showing more recently in London and Los Angeles.
He laid on a sophisticated candle-lit dinner at Manhattan's swanky Four Seasons Restaurant for the likes of Tom Hanks, Julianne Moore, Alicia Keys, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.
Under a new streamlined schedule that allows customers to buy the clothes almost instantly, he ditched the official spring/summer 2017 season to unveil a fall/winter 2016 collection for both men and women.
"In a world that has become increasingly immediate, the current way of showing a collection four months before it is available to customers, is an antiquated idea and one that no longer makes sense," Ford said ahead of the show.
"Showing the collection as it arrives in stores will remedy this, and allow the excitement... to drive sales and satisfy our customers' increasing desire to have their clothes as they are ready to wear them."
Guests were treated to a sit-down, champagne dinner that included smoked salmon and caviar on orchid-decorated tables. The masses could only gawp at the spectacle live streamed on his website.
Strutting to a sultry soundtrack that included Keys' hit "Fallin", Ford sent down a short box runway in the middle of the tables a collection of pencil skirts with deep slits up the back, buckle belts and statement jewelry.
A retro classic tweed look of impeccable tailoring was jazzed up with color-blocked fur jackets, fur-trimmed patchwork coats, animal print and camouflage.
It was wearable, albeit very expensive sexy chic. For men there were suede, corduroy and silk jackets and evening jackets with retro disco detail. For evening wear there were sequin cocktail dresses paired with buckle belts, feathers, and flame-detail and column beaded dresses with cut-out backs that hugged the figure and flashed thigh through slits to the top of the leg.
It was less timeless elegance and more sports basics and sky-high stilettos at West's show finally conducted under the blazing afternoon heat more than an hour and half behind schedule.
It was another live streamed show watched in person by only the hand-picked few, who included West's reality star wife Kim Kardashian, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and British racing car drive Lewis Hamilton.
Never one to hide his light under a bushel, he commandeered the presidential park Hillary Clinton used to kickstart her White House run last year and created in honor of one of World War II president, Franklin D Roosevelt.
His Yeezy Season Four, dominated by body suits and stilettos, was his latest collaboration for Adidas and a meditation on ethnic diversity.
At a time when America is gripped by debate about race the overwhelming majority of models were black, a rarity on Western catwalks, after West demanded that "multiracial women only" apply to his casting call.
Models stood or sat barefoot on a lawn dressed in imitation speedos, skin-tight crop tops, bandeau strips, athletics knickers and cycling shorts.
Others descended an outdoor triangular catwalk dressed in ribbed vest tops worn with oversized, over-the-knee stiletto boots -- the transparent plastic version of which Kardashian was recently photographed wearing.
It was a body-hugging look of sports basics worn with oversized hooded parkas and puffers. But stilettos were so tall and seemingly fragile that at least two models slipped or stumbled.
"I want to make pieces that can be timeless," he told Vogue in an interview. "Pieces that you can pick up out of a vintage store in 20 years and say, 'Wow, I'm happy I have this.'"