What’s Tom Ford Without Tom Ford?

Many newly-promoted creative directors are really more like renovators. They overhaul logos, gut stores, and remodel clothes and accessories, as De Sarno is expected to do at Gucci. But Hawkings, smartly, isn’t bringing out the wrecking ball anytime soon.

If anything, his Tom Ford is even more Tom Ford-y than Tom Ford under Tom Ford. (Sorry.) “The design ethos,” Hawkings said backstage, “is ingrained in me.” Which was clear in how he distilled the louche Fordian codes of glamor, luxury, and sex into their most potent forms. The first guy on the runway wore a gleaming black croc trucker jacket, followed closely behind by a glittering black suit in a dangerous cut: broad shoulders, trousers tapered like a knife. Gold necklaces bounced on the models’ clavicles, because their silk shirts were, naturally, unbuttoned to their belt buckles. Some traded blazers for supple café racer jackets, while others appeared to be on their way to (currently nonexistent) red carpets. The final men’s look, in fact, was a suit golder than an Oscar statuette. Pure, uncut TF, for a world of sartorial hedonism that he built.

“I’m detail obsessed, and quality means everything to me,” says Peter Hawkings.

This continuity didn’t come as a surprise. Hawkings had been quietly designing the men’s line from London for years, after Ford tapped him to start it “from a blank sheet of white paper,” as Hawkings put it, back in 2009. (Ford originally hired Hawkins as a menswear design assistant at Gucci in 1998.) He’s simply doubling down on what’s been working, and remaining razor-focused on material quality and sartorial details.

The real change Hawking is making is to the women’s side of the store, which Ford had been handling in LA. “What is so important to achieve is the [Tom Ford] woman coming closer to the man,” Hawkings said. “I think there was a disconnect before for sure, and I think that probably had to do with Tom being in LA and the design team being there. Now it’s under one roof.” Meaning there’s a women’s black croc trucker, too, as well as a sequence of velvet tuxedos that called back to those iconic, Gwyneth Paltrow-endorsed suits Ford made during his red-hot tenure at Gucci. Hawkings is basically giving credit where credit is due, he explained. “I was a part of [Gucci] all those years ago, so obviously Tom has helped me and inspired me to create my own codes, and build on those for the future.”

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