Of the many labels and designers that presented during this month’s New York Fashion Week presentations, former Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent creative director Tom Ford may have generated the most buzz with his eponymous label. In early February, the brand followed Burberry’s lead by revealing that it would shift to a “see-now-buy-now” model for its Fall 2016 collection. While traditionally brands reveal collections six months before they go on sale, the radical new model promised opportunities for customers to become more invested in the shows.
During NYFW, Tom Ford’s long-awaited collection finally hit both the runway and the retail store with looks that were memorable and ultimately reflective of what customers have come to expect from the brand. As with most other Tom Ford collections, lapels were the norm —overcoats, sportcoats, and tuxedo jackets graced the runway with peak, notch, and shawl lapels decorated in materials from satin to velvet. That recurring feature took a backseat, however, to Ford’s use of bold circular and camouflage patterns on said jackets. The outer layers were clearly meant to pop, and ubiquitous turtlenecks in solid colors provided large backgrounds for the coats and jackets, accentuating their silhouettes and patterns.
Ford revealed in an interview with The Business of Fashion that he began designing the collection six months prior to the release, as most designers do, and that the goal of the new model is “sales, sales, sales.” The brand’s case, though, is an interesting one, given the price range of Ford’s clothing. His offerings fall very easily into the high-end category—a waterproof parka that was featured on the runway is currently going for nearly $10,000 on the official online store. With the traditional structure, potential customers have half a year to contemplate the purchase and to set aside funds, but with see-now-buy-now it is unclear how the spontaneity will work with the price tag. The portion of the world population that can afford to spend the value of a used car on a whim is ostensibly quite small, so Ford might have some trouble capturing new consumers with this move regardless of the quality or design of the new collection.
Though the effectiveness of the campaign cannot be judged at this time, the designer has certainly enjoyed increased interest and media coverage following the release. Countless outlets built up hype before the presentation, and since the collection’s debut search interest on Google for the brand has risen significantly. In that regard, see-now-buy-now seems to have been a good move for Tom Ford, as interest will inevitably lead to some level of increased sales.
Did you get a good look at the see-now-buy-now collections during NYFW? Tell me about them here or on Twitter @BillChangNY