Tome, the Australian design duo of Ramon Martin and Ryan Lobo, have just made their New York Fashion Week runway debut. But you may have already heard of them. Word has been building for a while. They won the Ecco Domani award last year, previously awarded to Proenza Schouler and Alexander Wang; they have already been presenting their collections for several seasons in more modest surroundings; they were finalists in this year’s CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund. (Watch them sportingly slug it out with 9 other emerging talents on Anna Wintour’s docu-series The Fashion Fund which follows the grueling selection process airing Wednesdays at 10pm on Ovation channel). Past contestants Derek Lam, Prabal Garung, Rag & Bone, Philip Lim, Rodarte, Thakoon were not even winners so that indicates the level of prestige just being nominated implies.
Full disclosure: Ramon is a friend of mine. Therefore I might be inclined to split the word in half and think Tome is special To Me. However I must accept the reality that every woman feels that way. In fact, Tome dedicates itself to you, and you, and yes, you too. Tome is whispering sweet nothings to females all over town without discrimination. We are being played and loving every minute of it. We feel romantic, sensual, accepted, complimented, understood, listened to. Before this we never believed we could be such visions of pared down loveliness. We dab the crystal stopper of the perfume bottle to our skin and Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman is on the soundtrack.
You see, their collections are not inspired by architecture, or club wear or vintage anything or sunsets or seashells or…no, nothing so amateurish. Tome is inspired by women. Special women–like me and, yes, you–artists, thinkers, individualists. For Fall, they looked to Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, previously to Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, Pina Bausch, Vanessa Beecroft.
Nor are Ryan and Ramon upstarts. They have earned their stripes even as they pursue new challenges and compete for new accolades. Ramon’s design career deposited him in some of the most desirable international houses–Alberta Ferretti, Jean Paul Gaultier, Derek Lam–and Ryan is a highly respected stylist and buyer. They’ve been friends since college and always knew this was in their future.
They chose the name Tome because it connotes a body of work and an image of longevity. So in that spirit, here is a record of their story so far. From A/W 2014 working back. This is entirely fitting as the Tome woman is a woman for all seasons, pairing pieces from the past seamlessly with new items.
I begin with backstage shots from Sonnyphotos.com showing the models goofing around as they rush from the catwalk between looks: they encapsulate the easygoing spirit and fluid, ornate fabrics of the collection better than any stiff catwalk images ever could. Then some images from past presentations and from their lookbooks. (Just time for one personal recommendation: their oversize felt coats leave you feeling like you have been scooped up into an all day bear hug.) Your journey concludes with a stunning short film of model Grace Bol wearing Tome.
I hope you enjoy their tale. This is only Volume 1…
My novel set in the international fashion industry is available. You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here.