As discussions over inclusivity and diversity dominate the fashion lexicon, womenswear companies have sought to create garments and accessories that cater to more people than thin white women. (“Nude doesn’t mean beige” is a common refrain heard about everything from cosmetics to shoes.)
Leave it to Tom Ford to bring that same ethos to his menswear line. On Feb. 6, the multihyphenate designer showed his fall-winter 2018 menswear collection during New York Fashion Week, within it a handful of boxer briefs that weren’t white and embroidered like those iconic undergarments of the 1990s. Rather, they were “nude” colored to match the models wearing them: caramel, chocolate brown, and tan, in cotton and satin. (The undies became decisively wilder once the animal print versions made their debut.)
It’s a long-held notion that how you feel about your undergarments translates to the part of your outfit visible to everyone else. If it takes a totally secure man to rock a pair of satin zebra-print boxer briefs, Ford is selling confidence from the innermost layer out.
The underwear portion came at the end of what was an exceptional showing of animal print, satin, and suiting (at times all in one look). It veered into the Zoolander realm in the best way possible: turn-of-the-millennium satin blouses, python-print ties, and a winter white ensemble perfect for another famous Tom. It also included a true fusion between streetwear and classic menswear pieces, as evidenced by the sneakers with loafer-like tassels that so many of the models wore.
While other menswear designers have relied on slouchy silhouettes and deconstructed looks, Ford has elevated the aesthetic for which he’s best known: unbridled sex appeal during a #MeToo era that has made conversations about sexiness fraught with conflict.
Ford’s womenswear collection will be shown Feb. 8 — an even more exciting thought, given the kind of glossy self-assuredness seen at menswear.
And if any of that bores you, at least there’s the underwear.
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