He might not have been the first designer in the world to announce his switch to the radical see-now-buy-now fashion show format (“We had figured out how to do it… then Christopher [Bailey] beat me with the announcement by about four or five hours”) but Tom Ford has been the first to actually make it happen.

tomford_tile
Designer and movie director, Tom Ford
Credit: Courtesy Tom Ford

At the same time he revealed his Autumn/Winter 2016 collection at an intimate but star-studded dinner during New York Fashion Week yesterday, the clothes were swiftly moved from secret storage spaces to retail racks in both his own Tom Ford boutiques and those of big-name department stores like Harrods, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Ditto for the brand’s new season menswear collection too. 

While this doesn’t sound all that momentous on paper, the reality is it was a feat nothing short of miraculous.

Countless international buyers saw both the women’s and men’s collections months ago, not to mention photographers, models, hair and make-up people on shoots for the department store catalogues. The fact not a single whisper of what 180 VIP show guests including Karlie Kloss, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Rita Ora and Zayn Malik were going to see during the NYFW presentation dinner held at Manhattan’s Four Seasons is both shocking and a testament to the fact it’s still possible to keep all your wow-factor secrets safe before a giant product release (something Apple could certainly learn a lesson or two on!).

tomfordrtwss17tile
Tom Ford AW16
Credit: NOWFASHION

So how exactly did the designer-turned-movie-director, who just last week received a 10-minute standing ovation for his second film Nocturnal Animals at the Venice Film Festival, do it? We spoke to the head buyer for the only bricks and mortar store in Australia to stock Tom Ford: Robert Ferris from Harrold’s. “The collection was presented in the showroom like any other season but with some added secrecy,” says Ferris. “We first saw the men’s collection in January and the women’s in March, so we have known about the collection and runway for a while.”

TomFordFW16NY22
Tom Ford AW16
Credit: NOWFASHION

Ferris and his buying team of Amy Nelson and Ross Poulakis then ordered the pieces they were sure would sell in Harrold’s, which has been the exclusive home of Tom Ford in Australia for menswear since 2011 and womenswear since 2015. 

TomFordFW16NY51
Tom Ford AW16
Credit: NOWFASHION

“We received the stock recently with great excitement, but haven’t been able to disclose any details until now. It was all quite mysterious until today,” he adds of the collection. The women’s range, as shown in GRAZIA’s Runway section here, saw models dressed to a typical femme fatale theme, this time with a luxe seventies twist: fitted tweed pencil skirts teamed with fitted leather jackets in a palette of black, white and tan, plus plenty of his signature sequinned pieces (always a red carpet fave with his celeb fans). 

TomFordFW16NY17
TomFordFW16NY50
Tom Ford AW16
Credit: NOWFASHION

While women dominated the runway (in Ford’s world, women generally do), male models were dressed to a similar theme. “This runway was inspired by the seventies era and specifically two of the biggest icons in menswear history, Yves Saint Laurent and John Lennon,” Ferris says of the menswear collection, which includes extremely wearable roll necked jumpers, single-breasted velvet jackets and well-tailed tweed trews.

See the full Tom Ford AW16 women’s runway collection.

thoughts?