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New York Fashion Week: Tom Ford debuts women's RTW

September 13, 2010 | 12:46 pm

Who else but Tom Ford could round up the world's most beautiful women to model the first women's ready-to-wear collection under his own name?

In 2007, Ford launched an eponymous menswear line, which has since become a favorite of the red-carpet set. (His client list includes Daniel Craig -- and his James Bond alter-ego in "Quantum of Solace" -- Brad Pitt and NBA player Amar'e Stoudemire, who turned up at last week's Fashion's Night Out runway show at Lincoln Center nattily attired in a TF suit.). A women's side of the business had always been part of Ford's long-term plan, and he returned to that arena Sunday night with a super-exclusive showing at his Rage_ford Madison Avenue store. 

For his first women's collection, Ford enlisted some of the most beautiful women in the world to model, including Lauren Hutton, Julianne Moore (who co-starred in his 2009 directorial film debut "A Single Man"), Rita Wilson, Lisa Eisner and Beyoncé.

In a time when fashion is everywhere, and the Twitterati have tackled the tents thumbs a-blazing, this couldn't have been more personal. The bloggers were MIA, nary an iPhone camera was brandished and Ford himself talked guests through the entire collection, describing each piece in detail, all the way down to the gold-dipped feather earrings.

Many of the clothes seemed to be inspired by the women who wore them; Hutton wore an ivory silk trouser suit with peak lapels, while Eisner sported a boho chic feather headpiece, hammered gold breastplate and a black column gown. Karen Elson, who sang on the soundtrack that accompanied the show, wore a cobalt blue fringe dress. Moore (whose husband and daughter were sitting in the front row) wore a nude silk Georgette fringe dress.

Wilson, wearing a glamorous black velvet evening column gown, and her hair swept into an up-do, seemed to enjoy the sheer spectacle of nearly 100 people crammed into the narrow ground-floor space of Ford's boutique, vamping it up on the catwalk and striking a pose for the photographer.

Model-wise, it was an all-ages show, with the likes of 20-year-old model Chanel Iman in a '40s-looking Prince of Wales check pants suit and 29-year-old Julia Restoin Roitfeld (daughter of French Vogue Editor in Chief Carine Roitfeld, who has also been the face of Ford's Black Orchid fragrance) in a zip-front leather jacket also hitting the postage-stamp-size runway.

One of the most striking outfits of the night was worn by Beyoncé, who entered to enthusiastic applause wearing a black-fishnet, hand-embroidered gold pailette patterned dress.

But it's unlikely you'll see any photos of Ford's spring/summer 2011 women's collection popping up on the Internet soon (at least without the permission of Ford's camp) because a strict "no camera or recording device" policy was in place, and the event was easily the most exclusive and hard to get into of the week. Not to mention that the lensman Ford enlisted to shoot the models as they came down the runway was none other than famed photographer Terry Richardson.

Ford is as much a savvy businessman as a control freak, and we suspect he's trying to keep it under wraps as long as possible for maximum effect. If images haven't surfaced by the time Ford finally opens his long-awaited Beverly Hills boutique later this year, we couldn't think of a more opportune time.

-- Booth Moore and Adam Tschorn, reporting from New York


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Photo: Tom Ford and Julianne Moore at the Golden Globe Awards on January 17, 2010. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times