Tom Ford Says Fashion Will Come Back

The famed designer talks spring 2021, partnering with the Brits, virtual fittings, live shows and fashion’s path back from COVID-19 devastation.

By Bridget Foley For Wwd 01/06/2020

Tom Ford is out of his comfort zone these days, a card-carrying realist in an alternate-reality world of the most bizarre sort. As it does to most of us, the strangeness of life today unsettles him, and unsettled isn’t a neighbourhood in which he typically lingers. “It’s surreal,” Ford says. “Don’t you sometimes just wake up and think, ‘how is this actually happening?’”

Still, he shifts quickly from dream-sequence musing to practical assessment. “It makes you realise how fragile our world is. We’ve had this false sense of security as a global economy and structure, and we’ve seen it so easily completely upended and disrupted.”

That disruption hits home powerfully this morning. Shortly before our conversation, Ford had a call with his senior management team during which he told them of a salary cut, their second since the COVID-19 lockdown started. It was highly emotional yet the prevailing response was oddly positive. “We’re all like a family, and people know that to survive we all have to sacrifice,” he says. “Our number-one priority is to preserve our staff and prepare for the future.”

Ford, who is now the chair of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)  believes firmly in that future, though he predicts that any sense of normalcy is a good year off at least. He’s determined to see his brand through the turmoil, at the end of which he envisions a happy comeback for fashion. No, he’s not being a Pollyanna, merely a pragmatist. “It’s human nature,” he says, “to want to adorn.”

B.F: You think this will go on for a year?

Tom Ford: If you listen to scientists, there’s no way not to conclude that it’s going to last another year. There are places where there’s no social distancing going on, and those people are going onto their communities and potentially spreading the virus. Then you realise that only 5 per cent of the American population has been infected and that to reach a herd immunity you’ve got to get to 60 to 70 per cent. And you imagine flu season rolling around, and a city like New York where if you’re going to work and you have to take the subway. I don’t see how it can not continue. I just don’t see it.

B.F: A lot of people want things to open up.  

T.F.: We’re a hopeful creature, humans. When we’re born, we’re hopeful that somehow we’re not going to die, but we do. All sorts of bad things are going to happen to us, but we’re always hopeful.

B.F: New York is starting to open.  

T.F.: Based on pressure from our political system. That’s unfortunate. That’s why for our business we’re planning on this lasting a year. I hope it’s only a year because, after this, I think it will take more time for luxury and fashion to recover. I think people will have become used to not dressing, and to not going out.

B.F: That’s for sure. We’re getting maybe a little too accustomed to pyjama pants.

T.F.: Some friends of mine are going to go grey who would never have gone grey. They can’t get to the colourist, and they’re deciding, “You know what? I kind of like this; I look great.” Increasingly, you see people on Zoom with no makeup. They look good; they’re starting to feel comfortable with that. So I think it will take time to recover.

B.F: But they will recover, and go back to makeup and dressing up? 

T.F.: It will definitely recover. What happened after the Spanish flu? We had the Roaring Twenties. We had consumption and flappers and makeup and exuberance. It’s human nature to want to adorn; it’s human nature to want to have things other people don’t have, to show off, to express yourself. Pre-civilization people decorated themselves. I believe it ultimately will absolutely come back in full force, but I think it will take a little while.

B.F: A slow recovery.

T.F.: We’re finding in the places that we have been able to reopen in a very limited way that there is not the market right now, there is not the desire right now for fashion. I really feel fashion needs to hibernate.

B.F: And you have to stay fluid while adjusting, right?  

T.F.: Look at New York. We were supposed to be able to open June 1, now it’s not till June 15. London, the same thing, June 15. We’ll see. But if there is a spike, will those stores be able to reopen? And our reopening plans — we can only have so many people in the store at the same time. Customers are not allowed to touch the merchandise; only the sales associates can touch things. You can try on a dress and if you [don’t buy it], it has to be quarantined for 48 hours. We steam it, we quarantine it for 48 hours, no one else can try it on. If you want to try on a watch, we wrap your arm in Saran Wrap and then we put the watch on.

B.F: A delightful shopping experience.

T.F.: But If you can’t go to a restaurant, why do you need a new dress and a pair of heels? If you can’t go to an office, why do you need a suit and a tie? Maybe you need some new sneakers. Luckily we make sneakers, we make T-shirts, we make underwear, we make fragrance and cosmetics. But even fragrance and cosmetics have seen a downturn because so much of that business is duty-free, in airport shops all over the world, and no one is travelling. And people are in masks, so do they need as much lipstick? Everyone’s getting used to not adorning themselves.

I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom because, as I said, I believe that ultimately it is human nature to adorn one’s self and express your personality through clothes. So once things really reopen safely, all of this will come back. It will come back fully once it’s really safe to go to a restaurant, a nightclub, an event, a party, a wedding. But to fool ourselves into thinking it’s going to happen [soon] is a mistake in terms of business. The goal is to survive. Maintain your image, survive with the perception of your brand intact, with your key people in place, with as much of your real estate as you can maintain, and just survive. To me, that’s the goal.… I mean, everything is going to shift. It’s all going to have to shift.

Tom Ford RTW Fall 2020

Tom Ford RTW Fall 2020  John Salangsang/WWD

 

B.F: Let’s move onto the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) -British Fashion Council (BFC) joint statement about shows. How did that come about?

T.F.: We have been talking also with the French and the Italians. We’ve had quite a few Zoom calls, all four of us. The businesses are different. The French needed to make their own announcement, which I don’t believe they’ve done yet. The Italians did — Carlo [Capasa] spoke yesterday, or the day before. I understood where Carlo was coming from with the men’s and women’s. Men’s wear is a major industry in Italy, so I understand why he wanted to emphasise the importance of men’s fashion shows. It is a totally different industry, different buyers, different journalists. For America that industry is not as developed. Here, in recommending two shows a year, I think combining men’s and women’s in America makes sense. And America doesn’t have a strongly developed men’s fashion week. So that was a difference.

The British Fashion Council and the CFDA agreed really on almost everything, so we felt we should put out a joint statement, to be as unified as possible. Again, I understand why France and Italy are a bit different because they are also both powerful manufacturing centres and have different needs. But we all agreed on cutting back the number of collections and all of that.

B.F: In the CFDA-BFC statement, you seemed to be really targeting the concept of that globe-trotting, mega-itinerant show. Were you?

T.F.: Yes. I’m just reflecting what I hear from people. I hear from buyers, I hear from journalists, I certainly know what a stress it is from a design standpoint to be creating a show. And they are often cruise shows, preshows.

B.F: The points you made that resonated most were two primary seasons, with finite fashion weeks, and within the four cities?

Increasingly, a fashion show has become the creation of an Instagrammable moment. In order to have that moment, you need the people in the room that other people following you want to see. You need that, if we’re talking physical shows. I hope we will return to physical shows. I think a filmed play doesn’t carry the same weight as sitting in the audience and watching the play. The same is true of a fashion show. I still believe a fashion show is the best way to show clothes. But there should be less of them, and they need to be concentrated. It’d more useful if everyone is doing it at or near the same time and in the same cities and on the same cycle.

B.F: Everyone has been talking sustainability for some time, and now, slower, more thoughtful fashion. Do you think that suddenly the optics will look bad if the legacy brands go back to the itinerant shows?

T.F.: I definitely think the optics look bad…sometimes now optics are almost more important than reality. I think yes, the optics don’t look good. You can’t be talking about sustainability and then be asking everyone to fly somewhere [for a single show].

B.F: Over the past month first we heard from Francesca Bellettini and Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent, and then earlier this week, from Alessandro Michele at Gucci. What is your take on what they had to say about their show plans?

T.F.: I understood where Alessandro was coming from. It was very much what we’ve all been talking about, which is fewer shows and more creativity. But I found his comments a little vague in terms of what he’s actually going to do. I agree with everything he was saying [generally], but he didn’t announce how or what that actually meant. But certainly the sentiment behind it is exactly what our announcement said and what everyone has been saying. Giorgio Armani wrote an open letter about this and expressed the same thing. So it is an industry-wide feeling. What did Anthony Vaccarello say? Was he more concrete?

B.F: The big takeaway was that Saint Laurent will separate from the Paris calendar and do its own thing. That sounds extreme, but I think he was talking about the rest of this year only.

T.F.: Through this year, you have to do your own thing. What else is there to do?

B.F: More generally, if every house were to go its own way, how could that work for retailers, and for anyone who travels to the shows, if we ever go back to physical shows?

T.F.: I don’t think it could work.

B.F: I think you’re right about the fashion weeks. When this is over, they should still exist.

T.F.: Right now, you have to do your own thing. And if something’s virtual, it doesn’t really matter when you release it because no one has to go anywhere. You just open your computer and see what they did.

B.F: That’s now. But it’s not just opening your computer. If long-term people show any time, on a whim, how do retailers plan their orders?

T.F.: They’re not going to, they can’t. And if you wait too long you miss their open-to-buy.

B.F: Do you think people should just skip spring 2021?

T.F.: I thought about it. Then you have to realise that spring ’21 is going to be delivered in spring, and hopefully, things will be better by then. We talked to some retailers, we looked at our own open-to-buy and decided to present a capsule collection, dramatically edited. It will be skewed toward online because online is what’s selling for us. Our numbers have gone way up. We have to be practical. What do people need who are either still in quarantine or just coming out of quarantine? Do they need an exaggerated, Seventies, rhinestone pair of heels? I don’t think so.

B.F:  So you’ve committed to spring 2021?

T.F.: I’m having my first fitting this Friday. Everything is arriving. The way we’re doing it is ridiculous. Luckily, I have a very beautiful design assistant and all the clothes are going to her house. All of my design studio is on Zoom. She is going to put on everything, walk for us, blah, blah, blah. Then, 48 hours later, all that stuff is coming to my house so that I can go over every garment in real life and look at every shoe and every bag and then write it all up and send all of my comments back.

We’ve had everyone making things at home. Now, our ateliers are challenged in being able to reopen. Creatively, we can’t get together in a room and say, “let’s see you walk, what if we pull it in here and grab the back of the dress.” It’s very limiting.

Then, doing a look book for it will be challenging. You can’t have hair and makeup touching a model’s face, and people pinning the clothes and dressing her in a normal way for photography. How is that going to happen? And you’ve got the buyers who can’t really see the real clothes. They get to see a virtual representation and a swatch book in their hands. And then, they’re broke, and they’re wondering who’s going to really be shopping for this?

B.F: You said it — the stores are broke. There are so many independent brands that remain almost fully dependent on the wholesale model, and a major shift to direct-to-consumer isn’t realistic. What is the way forward for them?

T.F.: If I were a young designer completely dependent on stores that are going to have no money to buy my collection, I wouldn’t spend the money to make a collection that may not even recoup the cost of the samples. And by the time you produce it, those stores may be in worse shape and unable to pay you, and then you’re sitting on a bunch of merchandise.

I would try to preserve my key people and hang onto my space. Again, I would just sit tight and try to maintain my brand image through posting images of — you’d have to be creative about how to do that, and remain vocal and visible somehow. But suspend production of collections until this is over. Does that sound dramatic?

B.F: What is the official CFDA position on spring 2021 for women and men?

T.F.: We’re sticking to our fashion calendar. Again, we have to talk about this with the board. Everything is virtual so we can release it all at once, like Netflix, and you can binge-watch the shows boom, boom, boom. Or we can try to space it out. But we’re going to try to stick to our usual slot of presenting.

Tom Ford RTW Fall 2020

Tom Ford RTW Fall 2020  John Salangsang/WWD/Shutterstock

B.F: Men’s spring 2021?

T.F: Men’s works on a different calendar. My men’s collection is completely developed. Producing the samples was delayed because of the shutdown in Italy, even though we were already on our second or third fittings and our fabrics were already done. Again, it will be a virtual thing. I believe that we’re uploading and selling it in July, through swatches and through a virtual presentation.

B.F: You talked about women not needing a dress or a heel if they can’t go to a restaurant. Are you concerned about men’s tailored clothing?

T.F.: We’ve definitely done less of that. The lucky thing is we’ve made casual clothing for a long time. People have just identified us with suits and with tailoring and with evening clothes because it’s a big part of our collection. We’ve made sweatpants for years, and beautiful knitwear and suede jackets and jeans. Underwear is selling very well from us because it’s one of those great online things, and gifts.

B.F: Gifts?

T.F.: People still need gifts. Everyone has to give a Mother’s Day present, and no one wants to put a lot of thought into it. So I put together three Mother’s Day boxes and put them online on the landing page. One had a satin hat, a bottle of perfume and a pair of sunglasses. There was box number one, box number two and box number three. One was [the fragrance] Rose Pr–k and one was F–king Fabulous or whatever. You picked one, two or three and just like that, it was boxed, wrapped and sent to your mother. It sold out. The same for graduation. You still have to buy a graduation gift, you’ve got to buy a Father’s Day gift, you’re going to have to buy Christmas gifts.

B.F: Let’s go back to fashion shows. You don’t think the live fashion show is dead?

T.F.: Not at all. No. [I loved] my last one. It completely got me excited about shows again because it just worked, I was so happy.

The vibe in the room, the excitement, it worked as a performance and as a way to convey the clothes and to see the clothes move. It made me excited. As I’ve told you before, one of the reasons it worked was that nobody had their phone. I had their attention and you could feel it. It’s distracting when you’re on your phone trying to photograph yourself at a show and not looking at the clothes.

B.F: It used to be an immersive experience. You got lost in a great show.

T.F.: Yes! Nobody goes to a play and pulls out their phone, I mean, it’s almost like a matter of respect. You’re missing the experience.

B.F: Everyone seems in agreement about shifting deliveries to be more in line with the seasons. There’s a bit of conversation as well about giving buy-now-wear-now shows another go. You’ve been there and done that. What are your thoughts about it now?

T.F.: That did not work at all for me. It’s very hard to produce in advance, and to estimate what’s going to be a hit and what’s not going to be a hit so you risk ending up with a lot of merchandise that doesn’t sell. Also, the customer needs time to get used to something. Often you’ll see a show and go, “I don’t think I want that.” And then as time goes by and you see it on Instagram and editorially and on a celebrity, your eye starts to adjust, and you realise you want it. So for many reasons, it didn’t work for me.

B.F: Even in this new world order you don’t think it will work?

T.F.: I don’t think so. I think it hinders creativity.

B.F: Do you ever feel a conflict between Tom Ford, designer principal of the Tom Ford brand, and Tom Ford, chairman of the CFDA?

T.F.: No. I don’t at all. No, no.

B.F: Looking ahead to end of May two years from now, do you have any sense of the health of the American fashion industry and the global industry?

T.F.: It will come back, absolutely. Maybe it will look a little different. Maybe it will be two principal collections a year, and things will stay on the floor longer. I think it will be quieter, I think it will be calmer.

But the thing is, the customer is going to drive this. We can all say we want about two collections a year, but as soon as the customers get to a point where they’re coming back in saying, “you had this two months ago,” and, “don’t you have anything new?” and we start hearing from the stores and the buyers, if one brand does it, it’s all going to come back again. The customer drives it. We can try, but in the end we are at the service of the customer.

B.F: But fashion will be back.

T.F.: It may look different; it will look different. It should look different, it’s a reflection of where we are culturally. Culturally we’re going to be different. Will it be back to the level it was right before? I don’t know, that may take two or three years. It will take an economy that starts to recover, and people starting to have jobs, and a [fading of] the PTSD that everyone is going to have from this. And you’ll have to start feeling comfortable enough again that the world is safe. But as I said at the beginning, the desire to dress and to adorn and to express ourselves through things that we put on our bodies is innate, and part of who we are as humans, as animals. That is not going to go away. It’s a desire to show off.

This article was originally published on and sourced from WWD.

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Everybody Loves Naomi 

Fashion fans adore her. And so do we. Lucky, then, that a new exhibition is paying homage to four decades of snake-hipped catwalking.

By Joseph Tenni 22/06/2024

Naomi Campbell contains multitudes. Since emerging on the scene in 1986, modelling for British designer Jasper Conran, the statuesque stunner has used the runway for takeoff. She has ventured into all aspects of the culture, from Vogue to Playboy and reality TV. In the business arena, she has dabbled in publishing and the two F&Bs (fragrance and beauty, and food and beverage). Her philanthropic efforts are legion.

Naomi is better known than any of her peers and, aged 54, remains more relevant than ever. As a testament to her pervading influence, a new exhibition, Naomi: In Fashion, is opening at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Celebrating her 40 years in the spotlight, the show includes clothes from the model’s closet and some of the designer fashion she has helped to immortalise.

We all know her snake-hipped walk, her glowing skin, her famous paramours, and—yes—her many tantrums and tiaras. But how much do we love her exactly? Let’s count some of the ways. 

1. She Was Born to Be Famous

Many people know Naomi for her appearances in music videos for Michael Jackson’s In the Closet and George Michael’s Freedom! ’90—the latter also featuring fellow supermodels Linda, Cindy and Christy. But Naomi has been in front of the camera since she was a child, and her prolific music-video career predates her modelling. At 8, she appeared in the official video for Bob Marley’s 1978 hit Is This Love. At 13, Culture Club cast her as a tap-dancing teen in I’ll Tumble 4 Ya. It would be another two years before she was discovered by model scout Beth Boldt, while shopping in London’s Covent Garden.

Courtesy Off-White. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

2. She Hits All the Right Notes

As anyone who has ever seen Unzipped, the 1995 cult fashion documentary by Douglas Keeve, Naomi always has a song in her heart. She put her mouth where her money was in 1994 and recorded an album, Babywoman. The cover art featured Naomi, photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth, shaving her legs while sitting on the toilet. Fittingly, the album was canned—despite assistance from contributors like Donna Summer and PM Dawn. 

3. She’s Always Ready for Her Close-Up
Hollywood’s history is full of models who went on to become successful actors. Naomi is not one of them. But not for want of trying. Her turn as a nightclub singer in Vanilla Ice’s 1991 movie Cool as Ice flies under the radar but doesn’t deserve to. Nor does her scene-stealing cameo as a French cheese shopper in The Night We Never Met, alongside Matthew Broderick and Jeanne Tripplehorn. Or her playing a sexy telephone operator in Spike Lee’s Girl 6. Who else has that kind of range? 

4. She Tells It Like It Is

We’d be remiss not to mention her 1994 novel Swan. A roman a clef about a young girl breaking into the modelling industry, flanked by her four besties who are also divas in training heels, it certainly played with genres. A murder-mystery-cum-sexy-romance-cum-vocational-advice page-turner, or something like that, this guilty pleasure was cruelly overlooked and relegated to the annals of bargain bins everywhere. 

5. She’s Got a Mind for Business

Naomi has been vocal over the years about making less money than her white peers and was not going to wait for the industry to catch up. Instead, she has ventured into businesses ranging from her former stake in the Fashion Cafe in New York to her signature fragrances, first released in 1999. What does Naomi smell like? Subtle yet complicated, consisting of top notes of peach, coconut and bergamot with a deep, woody base of cedar and sandalwood—apparently.

6. She Gives Until It Hurts

For a so-called narcissist, Naomi has often put her fame to philanthropic use. She has galvanised black models in fashion with the Black Girls Coalition and has raised money for Africa, Haiti and disaster relief worldwide, including after the Mumbai terrorist attacks. When she was dating the Russian billionaire and Aman Resorts owner Vladislav Doronin, she became committed to saving the tiger. Is there anything this overachiever can’t do?

7. She Can Make Hay From Anything

When she was sentenced to community service following allegations by a former employer that Naomi had attacked her with a mobile phone, the model emerged from her punishment dressed in couture and trailed by a photo crew who were shooting a fashion layout of her for W magazine. And when she was summoned in 2010 to appear in a war crimes trial against former Liberian president Charles Taylor—in relation to an uncut blood diamond he’d allegedly given her—our girl showed up in an Azzedine Alaïa twin-set and wearing a silver “evil eye” necklace, turning the courtroom into a photo opportunity.

8. She’ll Be on Your Side for Evermore
The fashion industry is hardly known for its loyalty or congeniality, but Naomi has maintained decades-long friendships with not only her supermodel sisters like Christy Turlington but also some of the most powerful and difficult players, including John Galliano and Marc Jacobs. That she has remained tight with so many of her friends is not lost on her adoring public. She must be a loyal person and in return, fans everywhere remain loyal to her.

Naomi: In Fashion runs from June 22, 2024, until April 16, 2025, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; vam.ac.uk

Courtesy Vivienne Westwood. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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The Sapphire Dinner 2024 Raises Support for Ocean Conservation

This year’s boldfaced bash raised funds for our critically under-supported national treasures. 

By Horacio Silva 22/06/2024

The big fish of Sydney society came out Thursday night for the third annual Sapphire Dinner to raise much-needed money for ocean conservation. Held in conjunction with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the boldfaced bash was the first sit-down dinner held at the Tank, a repurposed World War II fuel container that sits beneath the Art Gallery’s new wing. 

Set against a backdrop of immersive ocean-inspired video projections by South Korean digital creators d’strict, and with a dress code that inspired guests to recycle their most fabulous fashions, the zero-waste dinner supports The Sapphire Project’s mission to galvanise the community to take action to protect our oceans and the Great Barrier Reef.

Deep-pocketed VIPs who walked the evening’s blue carpet included  Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull, real estate maven Monika Tu, Penelope Seidler, Anna Marsden (Managing Director of Great Barrier Reef Foundation), Michael and Tina Brand, Andrew Cameron, MCA Chair Lorraine Tarabay, Myer boss Olivia Wirth, benefactors Paris Neilsen and Beau Neilson, and Paul Howes and Olivia Wirth, the power couple known as ‘Paulivia’. 

Retired swimmer Giaan Rooney MC’d the event, hosted by Sapphire Committee co-chairs Hayley Baillie and Ryan Gollan and committee members Ian Thorpe AM, Luke Hepworth, Clare Herschell, Susan Wynne, Brioney Prier, Bianca Rinehart, Doris Ma, Kate Champion, Ellie Aitken, and Chong Chua. 

A troupe of former Australian Ballet dancers and a musical performance by the Fijian-Australian singer and actress Paulini entertained the revellers.   

Among the auctioned items was an original work by Del Kathryn Barton, which raised more than $200,000 in a high-spirited bidding war led by Four Pillars Gin founder Stu Gregor, whose expletive-laden entreaties were suitably salty. 

Nobody minded, given that more than a million dollars were raised to support the criminally underfunded ocean conservation (it’s estimated that only about 2 percent of philanthropy in Australia goes towards the preservation of our precious national treasures), with funds going to support important initiatives such as The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the University of Sydney’s One Tree Island Research Station, the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station, the Australian Sea Lion Recovery Foundation and Biopixel Oceans Foundation’s Project Hammerhead

The Sapphire Project Dinner 2024
Clare Herschell, Kate Champion, Bianca Rinehart & Hayley Baillie
The tablescapes at the Sapphire Project Dinner
Ian Thorpe
Adrian and Beck Buchan
Monika Tu
The Sapphire Project Dinnner 2024
Lucy & Malcolm Turnbull
Sapphire Committee co-chairs Hayley Baillie & Ryan Gollan

For further information, visit SapphireProject.com.au

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The 10 Best Omakase in Sydney

Sydney’s best Japanese chef’s-table dining experiences.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 06/06/2024

In Japan, where food is a cultural art form, omakase stands for traditional Japanese foods made with seasonal ingredients. A good omakase meal, prepared with purity and mindfulness, can make an unforgettable imprint on the culinary memory. Yet in a land defined by seasonal traditions, omakase is a relatively new concept.

Omakase originated in Japan in the 1970s as affluent Japanese began to dine more regularly at first-rate sushi counters. Bowing to the expertise of the sushi master, omakase loosely translates to “I’ll leave it to you.” In a setting where money is no object, letting the chef decide was designed as a chic way to take the awkwardness out of ordering.

In Australia where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood, omakase menus have experienced a recent rise in popularity. Today omakase is any series of small dishes served directly by the chef to the diner. Each part of the meal is presented on beautiful ceramics and lacquer wear, with a great —and somewhat— intimidating reverence for elegant details. It’s a chance to see a chef’s knife skills up close and get a feel for their cooking style.

Omakase menus are based on whatever is freshest at the market and can be influenced by the chef’s mood, expertise, and response to the guest. They can be slowly paced like a ceremony—hushed and reverential—but they can also be rowdy, humorous, and personal.
Here we give you 10 of the best to try in Sydney.

Yoshi’s Omakase at Nobu Crown Sydney

Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo. Open: 12–3 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm Phone: 02 8871 7188 Reservations: F&B-SYD-Nobu@crownresorts.com.au; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake). Crownsydney.com.au

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: jizakana16@gmail.com Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head. jizakana.com.au

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point; Tuesday – Saturday: 17:30 – 10.45 (closed Sunday/ Monday) $185-200 per head Kisukepottspoint.com

Haco 

102/21 Alberta St, Sydney. Lunch, Friday to Saturday 12 -2:00 pm Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday 5:45 pm – 8:1 5pm (closed Sunday & Mondays) P: 0408 866 285                                     E: haco@hacosydney.com.au; $150 – $210 Hacosydney.com.au

Kuon

Shop 04 2/58 Little Hay St, Sydney, Lunch: Fri-Sun 12:30 pm. Dinner  Tue-Sun 5:15 pm or 7:45 pm sittings.  Reservation via SMS at 0488 688 252; $220 per head @kuon.omakase

Sokyo 

The Darling, Level G, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. Open dinner Monday to Thursday from 5:45 pm P: 1800 700 700 $300 per head Sokyo.com.au

Kuro

368 Kent St, Sydney; Open Tue – Wed – Thur: 6 pm Fri & Sat: 5:30 pm P: 02 9262 1580, reservations@kurosydney.com $220 per head. Kurosydney.com;

Choji Omakase

Level 2, 228 Victoria Ave, Chatswood —upstairs from Choji Yakiniku. Every Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm. One seating per day only. $295 per head. Chojiomakase.com.au

Gold Class Daruma

The Grace Hotel, Level 1/77 York St, Sydney; 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–9.00 pm Phone: (02) 9262 1190 M: 0424 553 611 booking@goldclassdaruma.com.au·$120 – $150 per head Goldclassdaruma.com.au

Besuto

Besuto Omakase, Sydney Place precinct, 3 Underwood Street, Circular Quay. Omakase is available to book for dinner – Tuesday to Saturday. 5:30 pm & 8pm sittings. From $250. Besuto.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is no soy and wasabi offered during my omakase meal?
Even though sushi and sashimi are being served, the chef is serving each piece of sushi so quickly and directly that the chef is applying the wasabi and soy to the sushi themselves. Watch as they brush the top of the fish with soy and dab a tiny amount of wasabi on the rice, under the fish. You should not need to add extra, and in fact, it can be insulting to the chef to add more. Bathing the bottom of the rice of your sushi in soy sauce is considered bad manners, as it is seen as detracting from the flavour of the fish.

Nobu, Sydney

Can an omakase experience accommodate my dietary needs?
Although there is often little variation once the chef has set the daily menu, some customisation is possible. Advise the restaurant when you book and remind them of allergies or aversions again as you sit down. They will let you know when you book if your allergy is possible for the chef. Japanese menus feature a lot of seafood and dashi so accommodating a no seafood request can be genuinely tricky.

What are the golden rules for chopstick etiquette?
Use your chopstick holder in between eating, rather than putting chopsticks on your plate. Don’t use your chopsticks to gesticulate or point; if offering food to someone to try, never pass food directly from your chopsticks to theirs. Rather place the food onto a small plate and let them pick it up.
Never touch communal or shared food with your chopsticks. The longer, slightly larger chopsticks are like sharing cutlery, never put these in your mouth.

Without a menu, how can I know what I am eating during omakase?
Omakase is often a no-menu situation, and you are expected to try new things. Attending an omakase experience with an open, trusting mind yields the best results.
There are Wagyu and tempura omakase that reflect the chef’s personal predilections and training, but in a standard luxury omakase, the format will include a lot of freshly caught seafood and will usually kick off with a delicate appetiser. This will be followed by a sashimi and sushi course, a savoury egg custard (chawanmushi) with meat and seafood, a cooked or blow-torched market fish, a soup course, and dessert.

Can I talk to the chef during omakase? What is the protocol?
Guests at an omakase experience are welcome to ask questions of the chef; in fact, interacting with the chef is part of the experience. It is considered polite to ask questions or inquire about the food so they can explain.

What is best to pair with omakase  in terms of drinks?
In general, wine and sake are a perfect match for omakase. Aged fish and vinegar have strong umami flavours so depending on which course you enjoy, different wine and sake will pair well. Dry chilled sake is a great choice. Amazing sakes are imported into Australia, so trust the restaurant to advise you and take you on a sake journey at the same time.  If you don’t like sake, drinking chardonnay, a crisp young riesling, or even a dry complex Riesling is also totally acceptable. All three styles help bring out the flavour of the fish. Champagne can also be good. Try a blanc de blancs— 100% chardonnay —for a great way to start the meal. As you progress, remember that sake is good for dishes with a strong taste, such as uni and eel.

Nobu, Sydney

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The Tod’s SS25 Men’s Collection in Milan Was a Showcase of “Artisanal Intelligence”

It was also the debut men’s collection by creative director Matteo Tamburini.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

Earlier this week, Tod’s presented its SS25 men’s collection at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) for Milan Fashion Week, where all eyes were fixed on Matteo Tamburini and his debut menswear collection as Tod’s newest creative director.

Striking “a balance between tradition and modernity”, was the former Bottega Veneta designer’s intention, and indeed his showcase offerered a spotlight on the quality, materials, and detailing that are central to the Tod’s wardrobe.

“The collection is more about subtraction rather than addition, highlighting the very elevated, timeless and relaxed materials,” says Tamburini via a statement.

Tod’s

In line with Tod’s restrained design codes, the garments presented were characterised by timelessness, unmistakable Italian flair, yet a casualness appropriate for everyday wear. Only the best leathers were used in the collection—thanks to the Pashmy project, which Tod’s unveiled in January to champion high-end Italian materials—used in creating garments like the Tod’s Bomber, the Gio Jacket, the Shirt Jacket, the Di Bag sack, as well as footwear staples, like the Tod’s T-Riviera.

Of course, the iconic Gommino driving shoe wasn’t without an update, too: you’ll find a new sabot interpretation, as well as the Bubble Gommino introduced in a new boat model with the T-bar accessory.

“Craftsmanship” was at the forefront of messaging, with chairman and chief executive officer of the Tod’s Group, Diego Della Valle, reiterating the message of honouring artisanal arts in an increasingly digital-first world.”[It’s] important to uphold artisanal intelligence, keeping under control artificial intelligence as it is now developing rapidly and powerfully,” he said via a statement.

“Individuals and artisanal intelligence at the centre, with its traditions and values, will contribute to keep artificial intelligence in check. Our Italian craftsmanship and supply chain can be an example of the combination of tradition and the new speed of artificial intelligence.”

tods.com

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Pitti Uomo’s Best-Dressed Men Cut Through the Noise With Personal Style

From vintage gems to tasteful tailoring, attendees of Florence’s biannual tradeshow brought their best sartorial selves.

By Naomi Rougeau, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Whether or not you’re well versed in the ins and outs of Pitti Uomo, the biannual menswear tradeshow in Florence that brings together buyers, press—and, naturally, a vast ostentation of peacocks—the chances are that photos from the gathering are still making their way into your newsfeed. You might even smirk at the mention of it. To be sure, you’ll encounter plenty of “overdressing” strolling through the main venues but by and large, great personal style manages to cut through the noise.

Part of what makes the Pitti scene so exciting is that menswear moves relatively slowly. It’s less about seeing something earth shatteringly new but rather gradual shifts and discovering fresh ways to put things together. Menswear regulars such as Alessandro Squarzi, owner of a considerable vintage archive that influences his Milanese boutique Fortela, can be relied upon to provide inspiration on how to make tried and true staples and silhouettes feel modern.

Speaking of new old things, vintage fashions made their way into the chat in a big way this June, whether in terms of rare finds or sustainable efforts via upcycling, fabric development and natural dyes (Paris-based De Bonne Facture achieved an ideal medium brown using coffee, for instance). At the heart of the conversation was another bona fide vintage guru Maurizio Donadi who made a case for the timelessness and democratic nature of indigo with his centuries-spanning exhibit of antique garments from around the globe.

Below you’ll find a dozen of our favorite looks from Pitti Uomo 106, lensed by our eagle-eyed street-style photographer Lorenzo Sodi. We hope they inspire.

Lorenzo Sodi

A lesson in simplicity and the power of a classic palette—good quality vintage accents such as a turquoise embellished belt buckle add interest to timeless workwear. Ray-Ban’s universally-flattering Wayfarer sunglasses are the perfect finishing touch.

Lorenzo Sodi

Sans suit and shirt, the neckerchief (of which there were many at Pitti), adds a welcome dose of colour to a white tee and relaxed jacket and proves that sometimes one choice detail is all it takes. A well-loved, slightly-too-long belt and canvas Vans contribute to the casual harmony.

Lorenzo Sodi

Whatever the weather, you’ll find Douglas Cordeaux, from Fox Brothers, looking immaculate in shirt and tie… and a suit made of one of Fox’s many fabrics. British elegance, embodied.

Lorenzo Sodi

Relaxed elegance is the foundation of the Brunello Cuccinelli brand. Here, the maestro himself shows us how it’s done in a double-breasted linen ensemble featuring a few personal flourishes.

Lorenzo Sodi

Designer Alessandro Pirounis of Pirounis offers a masterclass on the rule of three with a contemporary twist, subbing the usual jacket with an overshirt of his own design.

Lorenzo Sodi

A renaissance man takes Florence. True to his roots, US Marine veteran, Savile Row-trained tailor and photographer Robert Spangle blazes a sartorial trail that’s all his own.

Lorenzo Sodi

Cream trousers are an essential element of elegant Italian summer style. Designer Nicola Radano of Spacca Neapolis channels one of the greats (Marcello Mastroianni) in a dark polo of his own design, collar spread wide across his jacket’s lapel for a welcome retro lean.

Lorenzo Sodi

Proof of the power of tonal dressing, that can create an impactful outfit just by sticking to the same colour family. A chic ensemble and in some ways an elevated version of the double-denim look, every element is working hard in service to the whole.

Lorenzo Sodi

UK-based stylist Tom Stubbs has long been a proponent of blousy pleats, lengthy db jackets, and statement-making neck scarves and here, in vintage Armani, he embodies the louche, oversize look that many designers are just now catching up on.

Lorenzo Sodi

A tailor splitting his time between Berlin and Cologne, Maximilian Mogg is known for his strong-shouldered, architectural suiting. Yet in Mogg’s hands, particularly with this non-traditional colour scheme, the effect is always modern and youthful.

Lorenzo Sodi

If Max Poglia’s relaxed Hawaiian shirt and suit combo is any indication, summer has truly arrived. But it’s an excellent example of how to wearing tailoring in more casual fashion. This cream db would look perfect with shirt and tie at a wedding in August and just as chic here with slippers and a laid-back shirt.

Lorenzo Sodi

Another example of how tailoring can be laid-back and breezy for summer, from a dude who looks no stranger to enjoying the best of the warmer months. Jaunty pocket square, sandals, untucked linen shirt…go forth and emulate.

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