Claire Stemen likes to think and write about fashion as a vital form of communication. She loves clothing and the way we style ourselves, despite always buying the same black turtleneck over and over again. You can find her on Instagram @claire_stemen, or or at clairestemen.com.

Tom Ford NYFW FW18

Maximalism is back and in the spirit of the ’80s. Tom Ford’s FW18 affirmed this when he helped cap off day one of NYFW on February 8th. Acidic neon, leopard and zebra printed leggings, sequins, and strong shoulders dominated his runway. Ford nodded to ’80s hair with wide leather headbands sitting low on the models’ foreheads, along with heavy black liner rimming their eyes. A bit of edge to that ’80s pop glam.

And yet in all of this colorful ’80s reverie, all black ensembles made up most of the show. Black jumpsuits, metallic and leopard power suits, leopard dresses with leopard print tights, and purses that matched the fabric of the pieces they were bouncing up against as the models walked. This meticulous monochromatic styling brought order to what may have been too ’80s, too kitsch—it made it modern and accessible.

Why the ’80s? It seems to be the decade en vogue—quite literally—and it’s been the inspiration of many a designer this season. In light of the upswing in feminist discourse is it the sartorial response to a frustrating and violent world? Dress in the skins of animals with ferocity and speed? Wear “Pussy Power” heels and matching bag?

What we wear is, after all, an expression of what we’d like to project, be seen as, and feel ourselves—a bit of self-deception. In a society zeroed in on the pain women have and continue to endure, perhaps the sharp shoulders and precise tailoring of a Tom Ford suit is just what we need to see.

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With love,

FWO