02/18/2013 04:42 EST | Updated 04/20/2013 05:12 EDT

Tom Ford brings elegant catwalk show to London Fashion Week

LONDON - Tom Ford put his stamp on London Fashion Week with a rare catwalk show Monday in the elegant confines of Lancaster House in the posh St. James district.

In the last few years, Ford has made a tentative return to London — one of his several home bases — with a series of exclusive, invitation-only presentations, but Monday marked the first full-fledged London catwalk show of the Tom Ford brand.

Of course he did it Ford style, in an elegant "royal home" typically used for international diplomatic conferences, not fashion shows. Those with coveted invitations had to wait in the cold and show their passports or other IDs to satisfy royal security requirements.

Vogue editor Anna Wintour and singer-actor Justin Timberlake sat next to each other in the front row, with chandeliers and gold-painted ceilings overhead.

Ford draws a more elegant crowd than many other of the London Fashion Week designers: Many men wore beautifully cut suits and carefully chosen pocket squares — called pochettes by some — and many of the women wore black outfits set off by exquisite jewels.

Everyone seemed content to sip Laurent Perrier champagne or gin and tonics while Ford let the start of the show slip from late to fashionably late, but not beyond.

Several themes emerged, with many of the ensembles featuring lacy black tops and brightly colored metallic suits. Some models wore long, form-fitting black dresses set of by explosive sunbursts of sequined, metallic colour.

Ford also made use of leopard-printed coats of varying lengths and — in a nod to the 1960s — soft black leather jackets with fringes in the back.

Other outfits emphasized a basic colour palette of black and white in interesting contrasts, playing on a zebra-striped theme.

The outfits were not revealing but very feminine and flattering, with many jackets offering high neck collars and dramatic shapes.

Ford, who keeps homes in London, Los Angeles and Santa Fe, made a brief appearance at the end of the show, waving to his many fans and wearing one of his signature slim-cut black suits.