Not all designers are good at talking about their clothes. Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of Tome happen to have a real knack for it: Today, for instance, Martin uncorked a deft turn of phrase while describing the tone of the duo’s latest collection, saying that he and Lobo wanted women to feel as though “the clothes had been poured onto them.” Later, he put an even finer point on that idea, making repeated use of the word languid. And that was exactly the right word; it captured the spirit of these designs precisely.
Words counted here in more ways than one. The Tome muse this season was Dorothy Parker, acid wit nonpareil and doyenne of the Algonquin Round Table. Martin and Lobo said they liked to imagine her, and perhaps other literary ladies of her ilk, slouching around the house in a silk robe or men’s pajamas, chain-smoking and shooting dirty looks at the blank white page set in the typewriter. That image accounted, in large part, for the collection’s terrific wrap dresses and pajama-striped looks. Beyond that, Martin and Lobo free-associated. Parker’s 1920s boho milieu sparked some lanky silhouettes, a smattering of Fortuny pleats, cabana stripes they said reminded them of old photos of Picasso on the beach, and menswear-inspired pieces such as V-neck sweaters and trenchcoats that, though natty, boasted the rumpled attitude one does inevitably associate with writers. Much of the charm was in the details, such as the vented backs of dresses, and much of the polish was found in the fabrications. The Tome trenches, for instance, were done in a soft-washed viscose, while the designers updated their signature pleats by executing them in crisp cotton. Here, and in the graphic striped pieces, a sense of geometry cut the “languid” atmosphere—and that, too, seemed a debt to Parker, who liked to punctuate her love poems with punch lines. You suspect that even her legendary gimlet eye would have looked on this collection approvingly.