Following some unexplained delays, Tom Ford unveiled his Fall 2021 womenswear and menswear collections virtually on Sunday, through the CFDA’s Runway360 platform. The looks he presented, the designer noted in the accompanying show notes, were not what he originally envisioned for the season, though: He thought that, by autumn, after over a year of soft inside clothes, he’d want to go all-out on glamour— but ultimately, he decided to marry the “handmade, couture-like” elements his brand is known for with more casual, down-to-the-basics silhouettes.
“The slight deconstruction of luxurious pieces is something that I feel will be a legacy of the pandemic for a few seasons to come,” he argued. “A more casual way to be extravagant.”
That translates to pairing embellished tops with denim bottoms; creating easy slip dresses with the utmost consideration on the construction and material, not decoration; and overall adopting an almost “minimalist” approach to design, where “even when I design romantic collections,” Ford explained, “they somehow end up looking somewhat slick.”
Though the Fall 2021 line suggests a future not completely devoid of comfy clothes, there’s also space for sexiness. (This is still Tom Ford, after all.) “I love short skirts. I always have,” he wrote. “This season, I like the shortest of the short. Dangerously short skirts and the tiniest of shorts, skinny pants, stirrup pants and leggings worn with slouchy, oversized mohair knitwear. Large volume on top, small and tight on the bottom.” When there is embellishment, it’s tough and punchy — think gold buttons, chains, high heels with pointed toes and broken glass earrings.
“Fierce, powerful and badass are words that resonate with me this season,” Ford continued. “I mean, who doesn’t want to be badass? Especially after being trapped at home for a year.”
Meanwhile, his vision for menswear is, as expected, very… Tom Ford-ian: “After a year of often sitting on Zoom calls without being fully dressed or while wearing the same dirty jeans and tee shirt, I am ready to put on a suit again and actually leave my house,” he wrote. “Suits can be an armor, but they can also make daily activities seem like an event.”
Suiting plays a big role in Fall 2021, as do fabrics that demand to be seen, like velvet and floral prints. But there are also pieces that reflect the stay-at-home reality, such as “extravagant silk jacquard evening jackets worn with pale socks and unbuttoned silk shirts,” as well as fancy-as-heck PJs and robes. “If you have to stay at home,” Ford noted, “it might as well be fun.”
See Tom Ford’s Fall 2021 womenswear and menswear collections in the galleries, below.