What happens when a designer who’s worked for just one fashion industry legend churns out their debut collection for said legend? Just ask Peter Hawkings, who showed his first vision for the Tom Ford brand since being appointed creative director in April 2023 on September 21 at Milan Fashion Week. Hawkings worked with Ford for 25 years, designing menswear at Gucci before joining Ford’s namesake brand (Tom Ford stepped down and sold the company in April of this year). Hawkings even wears the same tinted aviator shades as Ford does.
The spring 2024 collection opened with a black embossed jacket, belted and worn with latex-like high loafer boots. Next came a slinky maxi dress embellished with a low-waist belt done in gilded metal. (A tribute to Gucci fall 1996, designed by Ford, perhaps?)
A strong mix of not-so-subtle Ford-isms and ’90s Gucci references started coming in hot. There were little leather shorts with matching tailored jackets, embossed shirt sets, pinstripe suits, fringed mini dresses, open-weave knitted maxi dresses, and sporty bomber jackets. Flashes of skin—unbuttoned-to-there jackets for women and undone button-down shirts for men—were true to the Ford ethos of pure sex appeal. Each model wore a pair of the brand’s signature sunglasses, an element that has become synonymous with Ford and his aesthetic. Gold suits were immaculate in fit and execution. Blush-toned, silky safari mini dresses and raspberry velvet suits spoke to the nostalgia of Ford’s body of work, but with a modern lens.
The collection was presented as coed, with many of the silhouettes mirroring each other—an interesting choice, since Ford’s womenswear and menswear has historically been distinctly separate, with trend-focused womenswear and menswear that relies mostly on classic tailoring. Backless knitted dresses and shining fringe gowns seemed red carpet-ready—and surely, celebrity friends of the brand like Julianne Moore will snap up some of the more glamorous gowns when awards season rolls around.
“So many of Tom’s design references have become ingrained in me,” Hawkings said before presenting the collection. “I’ve used that to create my own codes—of glamour, sexiness, elegance, and beauty.” It’s easy to see why the creative director is such a natural fit for the brand, and is so adaptable to the aesthetic that Ford built. Plus, in a world of constant, rapidly accelerated trend cycles, there’s something really pleasant about the continuity.