At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s worth reiterating—again—that the respect Tome designers Ramon Martin and Ryan Lobo have for commanding, interesting women is profound, and a pleasure to behold. Which is why it came as a bit of a disappointment today to find Martin and Lobo erring toward a more demure and typically “pretty” interpretation of femininity in a collection that riffed on India and, particularly, the home life-focused work of photographer Dayanita Singh. Commercial pressure may explain the Tome guys’ choice to focus more on conventional, uptown-girl silhouettes such as trim bustiers, cropped bombers, and willowy pencil skirts. Or so you might suspect, given that these looks lacked conviction in comparison with fantastically chic numbers like the voluminous striped shirtdress or the sari-inspired wrapped tops and one-shoulder, ankle-skimming dresses. Those clothes seemed intended for women to be reckoned with—the kind Martin and Lobo very sincerely appear to prefer. And they needn’t back off that instinct, as there were lots of very retail-friendly looks here that nicely distilled that Tome signature sense of sculptural simplicity: the white button-down, worn boyfriend-size and tucked into a pleated pale pink skirt. The slick sleeveless trenches. The draped dresses of Madame Grès pleats. All of those clothes were plenty accessible; they also had plenty of force. If the show had stuck to that tone, it would have been the best Tome outing yet.

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