With eye on Oscars, Tom Ford shows latest collection in Hollywood

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - When Tom Ford learned his upcoming London Fashion Week runway show was scheduled for the day after Hollywood's Oscars night, where celebrity fashion on the red carpet is closely watched, he made a quick decision to make sure all eyes were on him. "I wasn't going to try to compete with the Oscars," Ford told Reuters on Friday.

Instead, the American-born, London-based designer opted to present his fall/winter 2015 collection to a star-studded front row at Milk Studios in the heart of Hollywood on Friday evening, two days before the Oscars ceremony.

Watched by fashion's elite, including Vogue editor Anna Wintour perched beside actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Ford's autumnal collection featured his trademark sleek silhouettes and bold designs.

Models walked a runway of white rose petals in high-laced blouses with denim and leopard print skirts, teamed with luxe fur coats and leather trim. As sequined and fringed body-hugging gowns emerged, rose petals fell from the ceiling, showering the models and front row guests.

The audience included actress Scarlett Johansson in a figure-hugging gold dress, Oscar nominee Reese Witherspoon in a black latticed outfit, and fashion designer Nicole Richie, clad in a leopard print gown.

Ford is the first high-profile designer to showcase a ready-to-wear collection in Los Angeles, but he reflects a growing fashion spotlight on the city.

Saint Laurent Paris' creative designer Hedi Slimane famously moved the Parisian label's design studios to Los Angeles in 2012.

Louis Vuitton is currently hosting an exhibition through February in Hollywood that showcases inspirations behind its latest collection.

"LA is really coming into its own," Ford told Reuters backstage after the show. "It has a great vibe, space is less expensive, so if you are an artist, you can work more easily here than you could in New York or London."

Known for dressing a selection of men and one woman at the annual Oscars ceremony, Ford mused on the evolution of the red carpet, avidly watched for fashion hits and misses. His gowns have been worn to the ceremony in previous years by Paltrow and Julianne Moore.

Ford said while the red carpet was "very important" for the exposure it can give a designer, in recent years it had become "very safe and very predictable".

"I don't like when clothes wear a woman," he said. "The woman I've made a dress for this year knows that, so hopefully it's reflective of her character, her personality."

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