TOM FORD LITE
In a much-anticipated fashion moment, Peter Hawkings took his bow on the Tom Ford runway, marking his debut with a collection that could be described as “Tom Ford lite.” The runway spectacle echoed the hedonistic heydays of Tom Ford‘s reign at Gucci in the ’90s, a period revered by those within the fashion industry. Hawkings’ presentation was a nostalgic trip down memory lane, a reminiscence of the era when icons like Amber Valletta sashayed in slinky white jersey gowns and Gwyneth Paltrow redefined elegance in velvet pantsuits. This era revitalised the spirit of ’60s and ’70s glam, seamlessly blending into a new age of fashion. However, some felt it lacked the unmistakable showmanship and polish that had come to be associated with Ford.
Backstage, Hawkings, who had worked side by side with Ford for 25 years, playing a significant role in designing menswear for both Gucci and Ford’s eponymous label, expressed his desire to craft his own narrative. He spoke passionately about his disinterest in oversized garments, underscoring the importance of showcasing the body’s elegance, evident in the collection’s impeccable fit. His meticulous nature was evident in every detail, from bags to hardware. Hawkings took particular pride in revamping the shoe line, with a complete overhaul that encompassed manufacturing, comfort, and design. Collaborating with Zegna, the licensee for Tom Ford’s women’s and menswear, as well as accessories under the umbrella of brand owner The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., Hawkings introduced fabrics developed exclusively for the collection. This offering paid homage to the legendary Donyale Luna, the Detroit-born Black supermodel, through leather jackets, side-slit skirts, threadwork dresses, fringed gold minis, and silk shirts provocatively unbuttoned.
´Peter Hawkings’ Tom Ford debut unites timeless elegance with a touch of nostalgia, rekindling the essence of an iconic era in fashion. As he weaves the past with the present, a new narrative is born.´ – Charles Daniel McDonald
Hawkings breathed new life into Ford’s iconic velvet pantsuits, infusing them with a touch of cheeky short-shorts. He also revisited the signature slinky jersey dresses, adorned with keyhole cutouts, open backs, and gold buckles. While Ford’s appreciation for the ’60s and ’70s was rooted in the extravagance of Studio 54, Hawkings’ inspiration was drawn from his mother’s creativity during that era. “I remember her creating amazing patterns,” he fondly recalled. “We didn’t come from a privileged background – my dad was a builder, and my mom was a nurse. But she would buy those YSL Vogue patterns; she always cared about her presentation. That’s what attracted me to work with Tom all those years ago.”
Hawkings envisions a harmonious blend of Tom Ford’s women’s and men’s lines. “There’s been a disconnect in the past with Tom and his team based in L.A.,” explained the London-based designer. He bridged this gap with masterful tailoring, a shared vivid colour palette, and glistening metallic accents. The overall collection exuded a controlled, commercial sensibility, exemplified by the bread-and-butter eyewear sported by every model (crafted by licensee Marcolin). This collection is sure to resonate with those seeking to relive Tom Ford’s iconic moments without the need to scour the vintage market. Yet, as Hawkings matures into his role, there’s hope that he’ll infuse more of his own creative spark into the brand.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Tom Ford / Estée Lauder