Tom Ford’s SS21 Collection Is “Clothes To Have A Bit Of Fun In”

17 September 2020
Tom Ford, SS21, Menswear, Coronavirus
Ford wants you to dress up, even if you have nowhere to go

Tom Ford presented his SS21 collection last night, his first since the coronavirus pandemic and it was, in a word: casual.

But Tom Ford’s idea of casual is not like yours or mine. Ford is a man whose sex appeal runs through his bones. It spills out into the page as he designs, and is sewn into the fabric of his collections. He can’t help it.

And yet, even for a man as creative as Ford, the pandemic gave him pause. In a refreshingly honest statement accompanying his collection’s looks, Ford explained that the creative process behind this new collection was not an easy one.

“I had not left the house in months,” he wrote.  “I was irritated when I had a Zoom meeting because it meant washing my hair and perhaps trimming my beard. At that time, the thought of designing a collection seemed frivolous when so many important and disturbing things were happening in our world. Our stores were all closed and fashion itself just seemed like an extravagance.”

The man has a point. It’s hard to justify dropping serious money on a suit when you’ve no occasion to wear it.

Instead, Ford’s collection can be read as follows: leisure and downtime but make it sexy.

Inspired by fashion illustrator Antonio Lope and the model Pat Cleveland, Ford decided we needed “clothes that make us smile. Clothes that make us feel good.”

Floral dressing gowns and cerys pink, silk pyjama bottoms, hoodies, baggy floral trousers, flip-flops: this is what you imagine movie stars wear to mooch around the house in. And yet, it’s still got Ford’s signature sexiness to it.

A soft, powder pink suit has the sort of peak lapels that used to inspire confidence on Wall Street, but paired with relaxed, drawstring trousers, flip-flips and a vest, it’s more suited to a weekend in LA.

Sweatshirts sit under leather jackets and rub seams with more silk trousers, shirts are open to the waist and if any look appears to be straying too far into ‘outdoor clothes’ territory, it will have been stamped with that big, bold, floral pattern again.

During lockdown I watched and re-watched Ocean’s Eleven. And Twelve, and Thirteen (it’s been a long summer). Elliot Gould’s Reuben Tishkoff had, to my mind at least, a wardrobe to rival George Clooney or Brad Pitt’s. And this collection reminds me of that. It says: just because you’re staying indoors, doesn’t mean your personality must remain in the closet.

Do you remember the feeling you got when you ventured back out for the first time, post-lockdown? The novelty of washing your hair, pulling out your best clothes and putting on proper shoes? This is what Ford wants you to remember when you look at this collection. These are, he says, “clothes to have a bit of fun in.”

And even if it’s just so that we look presentable for a Zoom call, we’re into it.