As far as frisson-inducing moments in fashion go, Tom Ford's return to women's wear with a super-exclusive, hush-hush show during New York Fashion Week comes right near the top. His designs were even more highly anticipated when images from the show failed to materialize the next day.
Finally, the wait is over. The UK edition of Harper's Bazaar has an exclusive interview with Ford in their January 2011 issue, featuring photos of his spring/summer 2011 runway show, shot by Terry Richardson and modeled by the likes of Beyoncé, Daphne Guinness, Marisa Berenson and Lauren Hutton, among others. The pics have been unveiled on Harpersbazaar.co.uk.
The stellar model lineup also included Julianne Moore, Amber Valletta, Stella Tennant and Natalia Vodianova, with models ranging in age from their early 20s to late 60s.
"All of us had been in the building since three in the afternoon getting ready; old friends and new young stars," Hutton tells Harper's Bazaar UK of the run-up to the show.
"And we didn't even know how extraordinary the clothes were, because we had only seen our own before in solitary fittings. But when we all lined up to go out – oh my! It was extraordinary to see."
Of his eclectic choice of models, Ford explains: "The women [in my show] don't change their look from day to day. They have figured out who they are -- that's what makes you iconic, by the way. Figure out who you are, figure out what you like, figure out what you look good in."
In the accompanying interview, he also elaborates on his decision to keep the collection a secret.
"I've been perplexed being out of fashion when I would see a real designer collection, or couture collection, was being streamed live over the internet," Ford says.
"I think it's pointless. Now listen, if I could have my clothes in stores within a month I would have them on the internet immediately, but because I can't have them in a store for five months, why should they go on the internet? Why should I help H&M figure out that leopard is the right thing for the season?"
Ford's return to women's wear features his signature tailoring, with fitted pencil skirts, flouncy blouses and opulent evening wear and accessories. Dresses start at $4,530 and go up to $34,355. Ford also plans on rolling out full skincare and makeup lines in 2011.
In addition to the new collection, which hits stores in the coming weeks, Ford is looking forward to a special birthday: the big 5-0, which he'll celebrate in 2011.
"When I was a little kid I wanted to be 50 desperately," he tells the magazine. "I didn't feel like a little kid, I didn't want to play games with the other little kids.
I wanted to live in a fabulous apartment and wear great clothes and have grey at my temples and have a beautiful car and be having cocktails and smoking cigarettes, and that's what I wanted to do. In a way, I felt 50 even then. I'm only now starting to feel like myself."
For the full feature with Ford, pick up the January 2011 UK edition of Harper's Bazaar, which hits newsstands on Monday December 6th. Check out www.harpersbazaar.co.uk for more images from his women's wear show.