Tom Ford’s Triumphant Return to Womenswear

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Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

Oh, Tom Ford! You're back! Fashion's smoothest smoothie showed a small womenswear collection at his Madison Avenue salon last night, and the influence of his Hollywood detour was in full effect. The theatrics! Only a hundred guests were invited, and they were served Champagne by an epically handsome collection of waiters wearing tremendously sharp suits. Ford himself appeared just after 7 p.m. to narrate the collection in an accent that grew more Spencer Tracy with each look: "Flesh-colored silk georgette!" he'd boom. "Turn and model!" he'd instruct. The clothes were pretty classic Ford, which is to say they were self-consciously sexy, slightly touched by the glamour of the disco years.

The show format aped the kind of fashion shows held by Msrs. Givenchy or Dior: Intimate gatherings in the designer's own atelier, but yesterday the effect was high camp. The models were not always "models" per se, but friends of Ford's, like Lou Doillon, Emmanuelle Seigneur, Lauren Hutton, and Julianne Moore. "This may be the beginning of Mr. Currin's blood orange period," Ford purred as Rachel Feinstein appeared in a tight tangerine skirt suit. "Now I'm rrrrrreally straight," he said as "Ms. Beyoncé Knowles" worked the salon in a skin-tight, metallic cocktail dress. And indeed, Knowles looked as good as any person has ever looked ever; compared to her, and to Lauren Hutton in a sharp white suit, and to Rita Wilson laughing and announcing "I love this" as she did her best J. Alexander turn, the career-models in the mix looked wooden. It was kind of thrilling to see very expensive clothing on women who might actually buy these clothes, and who, in many cases, earned the privilege of doing so through work.