Tom Ford Returns-------
On a chill, rainy Sunday night in New York, what else does a girl have to do but drop by her friend’s boutique to help him show off his new designs? That’s just what Beyoncé Knowles, Julianne Moore, Lauren Hutton, Rinko Kikuchi, Emmanuelle Seigner, Daphne Guinness, and a couple of dozen others did today when they modeled Tom Ford’s first womenswear collection in his Madison Avenue store. It was a one-time-only proposition. Word is, Ford will never succumb to the runway ritual. Besides, any old catwalk show would seem like a pale imitation after this debut, with its seductive blend of intimacy (no photos, please), eroticism, emotion, and gasp-worthy star power.
When Ford signed off at Saint Laurent with one of the best collections of his career, he left some unfinished business. There was a sense with today’s offering that he was dotting I’s and crossing T’s, picking up where he’d left off. He also marked the passage of time by using not just his closest friends (such as Lisa Eisner, resplendent in a black feathered headdress), but familiar faces from his past, like Amber Valletta (in a stunning silk leopard-print trouser suit) and Carolyn Murphy (in a backless L.B.D.), who were in his first shows for Gucci. And the gleeful sashay of all these women in their cocktail dresses, glittering sheaths, and quivering fringed gowns underscored just how long his return to womenswear has been in coming. “I got my Tom back,” exulted Rita Wilson, throwing her arms heavenward as she shimmied through the guests in a beaded black dress.
Victoria Fernandez confirmed there was magic in the air. She broke a toe a few weeks ago and wasn’t sure she’d be able to walk, but the minute she slipped into her shoes, the pain ceased. “Tom’s a healer,” she gushed. That’s the healing power of drop-dead, unabashed glamour, lustrously lipsticked and eye shadowed and updo-ed to the nth. As a subtle reminder of just how enduring Ford’s passion for glamour is, his favorite song, Bryan Ferry’s “Slave to Love,” eased from the sound system at the end of the show.