TOME's Very Cool and Cultural Inspiration for Fall 2014


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Tome designers Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin

Last season, we called out the Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin-designed TOME as one of the labels to watch for the spring collections. Fast forward to the fall 2014 shows and the CFDA/Fashion Fund finalists and Ecco Domani Fashion Fund winners are keeping the buzz going with a particularly culturally and politically inspired collection.

"Every season we take inspiration from a muse and this season it was [Iranian visual artist] Shirin Neshat, who's here at the show today," Ryan pointed out backstage after the show. "We're thrilled that she could join us and the collection is really about taking inspiration not only her work but also from the woman herself. She produces very political, very strong work and yet is a very joyous and warm woman. So we tried to embrace that contrast in the collection—to have very strong pieces, but also very opulent, warm and fun pieces."

The 32-look show started with daywear—rust, rose pink, and camel palettes with blocked paneling, thoughtful piping-detail and luxurious textures, such as, wool gabardine, silk failles and Swarovski crystal embellished tweeds. The cocoon coats and mink stoles looked especially cozy-glam. Slowly transitioning into more formal—or "more special" as Ryan described it—looks, the pieces brought in pretty lace over foiled metallic lame, gold embroidered skirting, and woven silk jacquards in peacock blues. The shapes were very architectural, but sculptural and voluminous—drawing from the duo's inspiration, which happens to have a nice backstory, too.

"Shirin is working on a documentary about the Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum, who was the Maria Callas of her time in the Arabic world," Ryan explained. "She had a really good story of wearing Christian Dior and Balenciaga and all the designers of that era and having to marry it with a sensibility from where she is from. The clothes had to float away from the body, so we took that Middle Eastern sensibility of cocooning and wrapping and translated it into those '50s and '60s volumes and silhouettes that are sharper and more structured."

The contrast Ryan referred to also was showcased in how and where one can wear the clothes. "Our take on it is always making the evening a little more day," he said. "There was a lace skirt with peplum that we put with a basic black shirt and then we had tweed day dresses that we embellished with beading. So it's always pushing something into where it's not meant to be and making it something new."

Since Ryan and Ramon focus on such topical inspirations for their collection, we had to discuss some current events, too, like the Winter Olympics. Important fashion question: If TOME could create uniforms for any sport (like Ralph Lauren did for Team USA), what sport would it be? And before I could even finish my question, Ryan blurted, "Figure skating! Ramon won't say that, but I'll say that."

So what would these skater outfits look like?

"Basically the exact same thing we sent down the runway, just with skates on!" laughed Ryan.

"But with more Swarovski," added Ramon, who jumped into the interview at the final, but perfect moment.

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