While the rest of the fashion world pledges allegiance to plain clothes and sportswear, Tom Ford went the other way with glitzy clothes that barely covered his models' nipples
In 2014 fashion-conscious women embraced plainness, function and discretion. Call it what you want; normcore, sportswear - I quite like (wo)menswear - the broad thrust is freeing, sober garments whose bonus is that they come unburdened by the heavy-breathing weight of the male gaze. Loose, tailored, flat-soled, 'boyfriend' (sigh), androgynous stuff. This year the pendulum has swung to the polar opposite of those distant days of 2007, all bodycon and platforms.
Hitherto the runway runes of spring/summer 2015 have forecasted more of the same ahead. Nowhere has this message been stronger than in footwear. Anything you want, as long as it's flat and orthopedically responsible.
And then, what does Tom Ford do? He puts out a collection as a-bulge with innuendo as a Berlin burlesque bar. It made Victoria's Secret look Victorian. It made Anne Summers look like Anne of Green Gables. It made Roberto Cavalli look Calvinist. It boldly whacked a W bang-slap in front of Ford's initials.
Nipples came tinselled with golden garnishes that tweeting colleagues referred to as pasties (chapeau, Cornwall) or underpinned with more half cups than an Old Compton Street espresso bar. Trousers were there in gauzy spirit, but only to reveal lace-accented flesh - with the notable exception of some outrageously kicky bell-bottoms in a slickly shiny jacquard-y camo swirl.
Black, with the occasional flash of gold, and even rarer squeezes of silver, pink and green were the tones. One top was made of nothing more than a few de-slithered serpents' worth of python masking tape. When there were suits, they came with a viewing platform of sheer panelling.
There was plenty of flash in golden skirts more nano than mini, and a fine, darkly glinting, sequin three-piece of cloaklet, trousers and something in between. The shoes apparently approached 10 inches, in gold, in black, in animal print.
Some raunch-shattered, show-goers muttered afterwards about YSL and, yes, there was a bit of that - but it was YSL after HRT, and with a pulse. The models looked far too thin in these clothes. And maybe oddly - as they are too thin - that's kind of a testament.
Tom Ford is tacking against the prevailing winds of fashion consensus. He will find an audience. For as he has shown so often before, when Tom Ford says something is right, for some people it becomes right - even when it initially seems really rather wrong. Ford even wore double denim to take his bow. That's confidence. And the pendulum will always swing back again, reset afresh.