Sep 6, 2018
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Tom Ford kicks off New York Fashion Week

Sep 6, 2018

New York Fashion Week opened with a bang with a masterclass from Tom Ford, A-list models oozing subdued sophistication in neutral palettes with Tom Hanks and break-out rom-com star Henry Golding front row.

Tom Ford Spring/Summer 2019 collection in New York - AFP

The US city kicks off a month-long fashion merry-go-round in which editors, celebrities and influencers descend first on the Big Apple before jetting off to fashion weeks in London, Milan and Paris.

Everyone from the biggest names in the industry to fresh-out-of-college hopefuls will pack a frenetic schedule from Thursday to September 12 as the Big Apple wilts under a late summer heatwave.

Ford took a chill pill -- opening the spring/summer 2019 season by sending down the runway models Kaia Gerber, Gigi Hadid, Joan Smalls in matte make-up, headscarves and smokey eyes.

For men, the trademark Tom Ford suit was fashioned into candy colors and metallics, paired with block shades and a traditional mac.

For women, think feminine pencil skirts, little black dresses and feathered evening gowns worn with snakeskin-style jackets, with only minimal snatches of animal print after last season's feline riot.

Hemlines fell below the knee with delicate lace detailing, and there was double-breasted black pant suit for evening that wouldn't look out of place on Meghan Markle, the newly minted Duchess of Sussex.

Guests of honor were Oscar-winner Hanks with wife Rita Wilson, rap star Cardi B, Vogue high priestess Anna Wintour and Golding, the hero of "Crazy Rich Asians" and ideal personification of the Tom Ford man.

It's no longer news to say that the traditional runway show is in flux, but September's edition of the bi-annual style fest serves up a smattering of treats after several seasons in the wilderness.

Kate Spade will show on Friday, the first since the label's founder ended her life in June, with a tribute to Spade expected.

Barbadian superstar Rihanna steals an honor customarily enjoyed by Marc Jacobs, by closing out the week with a Savage x Fenty bash to baptize her brand-new lingerie line.

- European transplants -

Then there are the New York anniversaries: Ralph Lauren is marking half a century of collections in Central Park with a fashion show and gala dinner that is strictly A-list only.

The location is the Bethesda Terrace fountain -- a popular movie scene stealer -- and the event an homage to the city where the 78-year-old designer was born, grew up and built his fashion empire.

Jetting across the Atlantic are French label Longchamp celebrating 70 years with its first full-scale New York Fashion Week show and Germany's Escada making its New York debut for its 40th anniversary.

Rodarte and Proenza Schouler are back from Paris. Vivienne Westwood is hopping across the pond for buyer appointments only.

Marchesa, the red-carpet label co-founded by the estranged British wife of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, is also back -- by appointment only -- after cancelling their show last season.

Others are sitting New York out. Ex-Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is celebrating the 10th anniversary of her brand in London.

Tommy Hilfiger held his show in Shanghai on Tuesday, the latest pit-stop on what has been a global tour since declining to show in the Big Apple since September 2016.

Alexander Wang, the king of cool, has switched to a June-December schedule and plenty of others make little secret of their a thirst for something new in a city that constantly glorifies innovation.

"What we know traditionally as fashion week -- and I love a runway show -- is changing," designer Zac Posen told CNBC this week.

"It's a very saturated field, so you have to find interesting creative ways of cutting through the market."

His answer? Unveil his collection in a photo shoot starring up-and-coming actress Maya Hawke, daughter of Ethan and Uma Thurman.

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