It’s been a busy week chez Tom Ford. On Monday, he quietly released the images of his Spring 2017 collection, having earlier opted out of a rumored pre-Oscars fashion show in Los Angeles. Then on Friday March 17, a little less quietly, he was taking appointments here in New York to present his Fall 2017 collection. So why the double up? Ford was one of a handful of designers—Burberry’s Christopher Bailey and Tommy Hilfiger among them—to pioneer the see-now-buy-now model when he hosted a starry dinner, runway show, and Leon Bridges performance at the Four Seasons last September. It was the most glamorous New York Fashion Week moment since Beyoncé, Julianne Moore, and Lauren Hutton, et al. walked his debut womenswear catwalk back in 2010. But Ford’s see-now-buy-now experiment is to be short-lived.
He’ll be on the official New York Fashion Week calendar come September, showing not an in-season collection, but a Spring 2018 collection. “It was good to try see-now-buy-now, and I’m glad I did, and eventually that’s how the industry will work,” Ford said. “But right now, the shows and store delivery dates aren’t aligned. We missed crucial weeks of selling time and valuable long-lead press.” He’s also moving his women’s atelier to Los Angeles from London.
Ford wasn’t saying if we can expect a Four Seasons–type experience, but knowing him, the odds are it won’t be your basic run-of-the-mill runway show. “Especially in this moment of designer musical chairs,” he said, “the best thing to be is true to your brand. And I have a brand, I have a following.” For Fall, he’s giving his followers very fitted tailoring (“my customer responds to that. When it’s boxy, it’s not as strong”) colorful, drape-y cocktail numbers with zesty stockings to match, equally bright shearling and fox furs, and high-shine black patent outerwear.