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Tom Ford Boutique is Spendy, Sensual, Sensational

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After last week's star-studded opening party, us plebs have finally been given access to the Tom Ford store, and we can confirm that it was definitely worth the wait. The receptionist seated at the entrance (though welcoming) no doubt keeps the Rodeo Drive tourists at bay, allowing for the full Pretty Woman shopping experience to unfold: passed glasses of Chardonnay, plush lounges, and what appears to be a 5-to-1 employee to customer ratio.

The decor is the anticipated minimalist chic: neutral palette, marble and dark wood, simple floral arrangements in horn vases and black candles. But the clothes and accessories often surpass expectations. The first floor men's store features Ford's signature meticulously tailored suits, tuxes and shirts, in addition to dapper luggage and a sizable shoe collection with a number of made-to-measure options. We're not sure who can (or should) pull off the purple floral blazer, but we'll forgive it in the midst of so much goodness. The women's line is the true piece-de-resistance, located atop a funhouse-style mirrored spiral staircase. There is a small array of jewelry and bags, from which gold snake and scorpion pieces and simple black feather earrings are a stand-out.

From there, racks of gowns and evening jackets in bold colors and textures await, including a long-sleeved blue fringe column dress and a low-cut chocolate brocade number with a decolletage-grazing bow, making us sad that awards season has just ended. The eminently wearable separates are displayed in groups of muted color - black with peach, olive with pink - delivering sexy but elegant takes on staples like cropped leather jackets (Ford's is embellished with a chunky gold zipper), wide-legged slacks, and lightweight knits.

Not to be left out, the old guard of Beverly Hills will surely feel at home in the white peak-lapel blazers, grey tartan suiting and leopard print trenches. This all gives way to the shoe salon, with offerings ranging from a basic brown suede pump to a beaded gold sandal to stilettos adorned with feathers. Ford has definitely lived up to his promise of designing "pretty" clothes for the masses, although you may want to borrow Richard Gere's credit cards to buy them, as most of the price tags hover in the mid-four figures. (Text and photos by Claire Heath)
· Tom Ford [Official Site]