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Ford similarly relocated his fall 2015 show to Los Angeles in February of that year, a day before the Oscars, and the front row was packed with A-listers including Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Miley Cyrus and more.
Given that the fall 2020 session of New York Fashion Week has been scheduled to run Feb. 6-13, overlapping with the Feb. 9 Oscars, a large majority of Hollywood stylists, actors and other talent and press due to cover awards season in L.A. will be unable to attend many fashion shows in New York this season.
As a film director and a fashion designer who has dressed the who’s who of the red carpet, Ford is keenly aware of the synergies between Hollywood and the fashion industry. Having served as chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since March, Ford is also poised to lead the fashion pack. Yet, so far, no other designers have followed his lead.
Ford, who declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter with more details on the show or on the overlapping schedule, told WWD: “The decision to show in February in Los Angeles feels very natural to me. It is my home, and has a strong impact on the way that I live and work within both the fashion and film worlds. … There is an excitement in L.A. on that particular weekend and the relationship between film and fashion is a strong one. In my role as chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), my main intent and priority is to globalize and bring attention to American fashion. There is truly no bigger or more prominent stage in the world at any given time than Los Angeles during the Academy Awards.”
In a statement to Business of Fashion, Ford added, “Someone asked me the other day how I could justify showing in L.A. as I am now the chairman of the CFDA, and I reminded them that CFDA stood for the Council of Fashion Designers of America and not the Council of Fashion Designers of New York.”
Steven Kolb, president-CEO of the CFDA, who also declined to further comment on the matter, forwarded his original statement to THR: “Tom Ford has deep ties to Hollywood and it is his home. We support his choice to show in Los Angeles and to promote American fashion on this important weekend in February. His decision will not impact the official New York Fashion Week schedule.”
No plans have been announced by the CFDA to create an official Los Angeles Fashion Week, although the CFDA has established a larger, growing presence on the West Coast this year. Tania Fares, sole founder and co-chair with Laura de Gunzburg of the CFDA Fashion Trust (a non-profit initiative that supports emerging fashion designers through financing and a year of mentoring), purchased a home in L.A. this year and has been leading a series of West Coast events, along with an executive committee that includes jeweler Jennifer Meyer, Liberty Ross and fashion designer Ali Fatourechi of the L.A. fashion label Adaptation. Fares recently co-authored the book Fashion in L.A. with former Vanity Fair West Coast editor Krista Smith ($80; Phaidon); released in late October, it profiles over 40 L.A.-based fashion designers. (THR also reached out to Fares for comment, but had not heard back at the time of publication.)
Incidentally, just as the West Coast is becoming a growing focus for the CFDA, Ford sold the Richard Neutra-designed mansion in Bel-Air, which he originally purchased for just over $2 million in 1997, for $20 million in late October. (Ford still owns the Holmby Hills estate of the late Betsy Bloomingdale, which he bought in December 2016.) Earlier this year, Ford purchased the Manhattan home formerly owned by the late fashion designer Halston for $18 million on New York’s Upper East Side.
Weighing in on Ford’s fall 2020 collection news, Hollywood stylist Jeanne Yang — whose clients include Keanu Reeves, Christian Bale, Robert Downey Jr. and Jason Momoa — told THR, “Tom Ford is not only a great designer, he is a very shrewd businessman. And, as such, with the exposure that celebrities receive, it seems like a smart decision to have your show where stars will be during awards season.”
Stylist Jessica Paster — who works with Emily Blunt, Olivia Munn, Freida Pinto and others — agreed: “All the actors will be in town, so they will get a good front rower!”
Angel Elgort, Miley Cyrus and Russell Westbrook sat front row for Ford’s spring 2020 fashion show, which was set underground at the Bowery subway stop in New York in September and focused on the high-low tailored sportswear with a sexy spin that the designer does so well. Missing were any Oscars-ready gowns, although there were ballgown skirts and even molded acrylic breastplates. On his way out of the show, Elgort told THR, “I loved the show. I loved the monochromatic [colors] and the acrylic breastplates. I’ll wear anything!”
It remains to be seen whether additional fashion designers will show in L.A. to accommodate the Oscars crowd.
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