Tom Ford’s secret collection

Making a surprise return to the fashion frontline, Tom Ford, who famously reinvented the Gucci brand, hosted a secret runway collection exclusive to 100 people, setting a new standard for the meaning of power in the fashion industry.

Fashion Month is a period when designers are eager to receive as much coverage, column inches and global reach as possible as they show their latest collections to a mass of journalists, celebrities and people-to-impress. However, Tom Ford, who did not appear on any schedules for New York fashion week has, yet-again, turned the fashion rule book on its head by hosting a secret show during New York Fashion Week.

Held in his Madison Avenue menswear store instead of the Lincoln Centre, where the rest of fashion week is based, he reportedly persuaded Beyoncé, Lauren Hutton and Julianne Moore to model the collection. The move that has raised the most eyebrows was the decision to ban all photography (although a few poor-quality images have, of course, been leaked online) apart from pictures taken by his in-house photographer, Terry Richardson, which will not be released until 2011, when the clothes go on sale. Until then, no one beyond those present will know what the clothes look like.

According to reports read in The Guardian, Grazia, various fashion blogs and word on the grapevine no invitations were sent out, instead, each guest received a phone call asking them to come to the store at 6.30pm on Sunday. There, they were met by greeters in Tom Ford dinner suits, holding oversized black umbrellas as the succession of yellow taxis and town cars pulled up on Madison Avenue. Inside, gilded bamboo chairs were packed tightly beneath huge vases of orchids, and waiters proffered vodka and tonic. As the lights dimmed, Ford, who did his own narration, took up a position at the end of the runway, his business partner, Domenico de Sole, standing discreetly in an alcove behind, and told the audience: “I am very proud to show you some wonderful clothes – I think – worn by some of the world’s most inspirational women.”

Carine Roitfeld, the editor of French Vogue, whose daughter, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, appeared in the show, called it “amazing, chic and very, very funny. Just like Tom”