If you're wondering who Tom Ford is, you're probably a fairly recent inductee to the fashion world like myself. He hasn't shown on a runway for seven years, mostly due to his view of the whole show scene as a rat-race circus. The only thing forcing his work back under the spotlight is his own brand's magnitude, which kinda gives the impression that the rebellion thing works.



And rebellion this is, but in a different way to the habit of the season. Whereas other designers put out tartans, leather, PVC and leopard spots as an explicit punk declaration, Mr Ford... well, he did use leopard spots, but amid KAPOW cartoon explosions and bright, high-contrast patterns in everything from florals to geometrics. Nonetheless, I still got a very strong sense of 80s influence in the image above, with the Bowie-esque makeup, and wondered if the hair was perhaps a nod to badass powerhouse women like Grace Jones and Brigitte Nielsen. It makes sense - it says "I'm wearing tacky, but you'll never have the cojones to disagree, and that makes it fabulous!" And let's not forget that, in addition to shoulder pads, short hair was an 80s rebellion against patriarchy. There's no better way to belittle the masculine that to embody them and then don their beloved comic strip drawings with a sense of mockery.

But then it comes to image number two...



Now, the hair in this picture doesn't really have any masculine mockery about it. It's perfectly polished and decidedly schoolgirl. And perhaps its the pairing with the gowns that has borne this. Let's note one very obvious thing; the makeup and the KAPOW motifs haven't gone, but everything else has transitioned into femininity. The angle of the shoot makes them statuesque and dominating, but without the need to say its because of masculinity. The angle of the first shot, where the hair is pulled into faux-short styles, is taken from above.

I might be looking too far into this, but when it comes to Tom Ford, an underlying sneer is never an unrealistic assumption.