If there’s one designer who knows about star power and its impact on fashion, it’s Tom Ford. Not only did he shine the spotlight on this idea with the September 14 premiere of his Spring/Summer 2023 collection – it was practically a klieg light, producing a high-wattage event that indeed puts Ford’s own power in the dual realms of style. demonstrated and celebrity.
This was noticeable from the moment the scrum of front-row photographers went into overdrive, witness the arrival of Madonna. The icon recently debuted Finally enough love: 50 number one – released on August 19, the album showcases Madonna’s 50 songs that have topped Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart, more than any other artist in history – so it felt right that she made a rare public appearance to support the man with who she shared some legendary style moments. Indeed, remember that the now-famous look she wore to the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards, a peacock-blue silk button-down shirt with black silk bootcut trousers, produced during Ford’s tenure as Gucci’s creative director, feels as current as it did. him when he produced that groundbreaking collection nearly three decades ago.
Times have undeniably changed. Madonna now has grown children, Rocco Richie and Lourdes Leon, who sat on either side of her in the front row, with Leon in a look that matched her mother’s. And the woman who once yearned for publicity shunned all requests for photos and interviews: “She just wants to have fun tonight, just like everyone else,” explained an assistant from the neighborhood.
If Madonna had been the lone A-list guest at Ford’s show, it would still have dominated the headlines on New York Fashion Week closing night, but this is a designer and film director who never cuts anything by half. Also in attendance: Chris Rock, Katie Holmes, Ciara Wilson, Russell Westbrook, Erykah Badu, Chloe Fineman, Nicole Richie, Evan Mock, Brooklyn and Nicola Peltz Beckham, Conan Gray, Shalom Harlow and several others, all in a downtown event space on Vesey Street to see the latest collection from the man now traditionally closing New York Fashion Week.
Trudie Styler was also in the front row, though the British-born actress and film producer notes that she will be back in England on Monday in time for Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral. “She was a great role model, someone who really knew she had a job and would never stop; she always said that and was true to it,” said Styler, who was present when husband Sting received a CBE from the monarch in 2003. “Her consistency and dedication to her work and her people are to be admired. Through all her prime ministers and the family challenges she went through until her last moment, she always deported herself in such a kind and elegant way. I already miss her terribly.”
Styler also explained why Ford appeals to stars who have access to a plethora of labels begging to dress them. “He’s a man for all ages, all genders, all times,” she says. “I’ve always loved his pickiness with the idea that we’re always evolving, and he can evolve with us and always make us feel like we’re our most powerful selves.”
Ford fully showcased that power when the lights went out, sending an ’80s-inspired collection that juxtaposed high-gloss metallics alongside the nude, lingerie-driven pieces trending at New York Fashion Week. One look featured an oversized silver bomber jacket embellished with stars in pink or purple, paired with the shortest silver metallic track shorts; at the other end of the spectrum, different models wore variations of black satin triangle bra tops under sheer black T-shirts or leather jackets.
And then the soundtrack of 80s hits (matching the big hair of the 80s models) shifted – “Addicted to Love”, “Take on Me” and “The Look of Love” left editors and stars on bouncing off their seats – to a more introspective vibe with Freddie Mercury singing “Time”. Mercury’s 1986 song contains the lyrics, “Time waits for nobody/Time waits for nobody/We must build this world together/Or we have no future at all/Because time/It waits for nobody,” and immediately got this show, which was so deeply rooted in cheerful glitz and glamour, a new depth. The models, including Bella and Gigi Hadid, slowed down their walks for this evening-focused section that, while still brimming with sparkles, also felt undeniably more romantic and thoughtful. Ford the designer loves a good show, but Ford the man is never afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve.
Earlier in the evening, Neiman Marcus also paid tribute to high-end fashion with a “Live Your Luxury” cocktail party at Chelsea’s Empire Diner. Star stylists Erin Walsh and Jason Rembert hosted the event, along with Jodi Kahn, the retailer’s vice president of luxury fashion. “We worked with Erin as a client and as a stylist when Juno Temple hosted the Neiman Marcus Holiday Launch in 2021,” explains Kahn. “Jason is not only a client and stylist, but we are thrilled to carry his Aliétte collection with Neiman Marcus. They both embody the mentality of luxury in the everyday with their own unique sensibilities.”
Walsh’s client list includes Anne Hathaway, who appeared at the event in a red knit tunic and fringed skirt that had appeared on the Michael Kors Collection catwalk about eight hours earlier. “I just loved that show; it felt really focused and sensual and clean,” says Walsh.
Rembert also premiered his Spring 2023 Aliétte presentation at the Georgia Room in Gramercy Park on the same day — an impressive feat, considering he was in LA two days earlier, styling looks for four Emmys attendees, including Lizzo, memorable in a red Giambattista Valli haute couture dress as she collected her trophy for an outstanding program of competition. “There’s something special about a plus-size black woman wearing a couture dress,” Rembert says. “Mr. Valli and his team made her feel seen, supported and loved. For a stylist and a client you can’t hope for more.”
As he continues to switch between red carpet styling and fashion design, Rembert says he really appreciates the support of the Neiman Marcus team. “They were the first brick-and-mortar retailer to back me up,” he notes. “They put me in their program with my first collection with both Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, at a time when I thought my only shot would be entry-level pricing. But they believed in me at a high level and left the power of their marketing behind me. It means a lot and I have grown with them.”
“It was important for us to toast the end of New York Fashion Week with our close friends and partners,” added Kahn, “to bring together the diverse, dynamic and creative fashion community while having a little fun at the same time. ”