You know that line in Crazy, Stupid, Love where Emma Stone says to Ryan Gosling, “What are you, photoshopped?” That's the first thing that came to mind today when I met Tom Ford at his ultra-posh showroom in downtown London. The Tom Ford studio is exactly what you would imagine. It's impeccable and perfect—from the opulent arrangements of white patchoulis to the male models in tailored Tom Ford suits who greet you at the door. Last season, Ford had a bit of a misfire: reviews of his show were mixed, at best. So this time, instead of a runway show, he opted to do by-appointment only viewings of the line for media. I assumed that his PR team would take us through the collection. I didn't actually think he would be there. So when I caught my first glimpse of Mr. Ford in the hallway, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Of course, he looked perfect,in spite of having been awake until 3:30 a.m. finalizing details for today's viewings. Oh yeah, I should probably mention that it wasn't just me and Tom. I was joined by a few other notable media names: The International Herald Tribune's Suzy Menkes, famed fashion writer Colin McDowell and Marie Claire's Zanna Roberts Rossi. We had been assembled in the reception area and were chatting with one another when Tom entered the room to greet us. Even though I was there as a journalist I must admit that I got swept away in the moment. He gave everyone, including yours truly, a kiss on each cheek and a warm hello. What happened next with Tom? Read on. That's right, Tom Ford kissed me on the cheeks. And instead of doing what I felt like doing (fainting) I pretended that that sort of thing happens to me all the time. What, a kiss from the most influential fashion designer on the planet? Meh. No big deal. Is it weird to mention that he smells better than anybody I've ever met? Vaguely sweet but still masculine. Ford was buttoned up in a suit for the occasion, but of course still had that perfectly manicured two-day facial growth. Ford proceeded to present his collection to us, piece by piece. And it was fabulous. Of course, I wasn't allowed to take photos—he is notoriously private about his collections, and used to ask invited guests to sign confidentiality agreements (although I wasn't asked to). “My label is about celebrating individual women, and making clothes that they love,” Ford tells us. While there were still glimpses of the strong, sexy Gucci girl that he created—in the pencil skirts, gold metal hardware belts, and zippered dresses specifically—this season, he seemed to be more in touch with the desires of the modern woman with skinny tailoring and a menswear-for-womenswear vibe. “This time I've edited the collection very tightly,” Ford told us, as models came out three by three. “I like very strong colours and a lot of leather.” There was an alpaca fur coat in shades of fire-engine red and taxi cab yellow that was impossible to miss. Another standout look? A glamorous body-hugging, gold, knee-length dress that shined in the light. “This piece is something we developed in India,” Ford explained. “It's made from crocodile scales that have been cut out individually and sewn onto jersey.” Ford also said that he's moving away from platform shoes. “I really like a slimmer heel and a pointy toe. I also like a wider pant silhouette, in a stretch fabric.” Cashmere suit jackets and anaconda snake skin boots epitomized Ford's bold take on luxury. “This jacket is leather, lined in shearling, trimmed in beaver,” he told us while he pointed out yet another incredible outerwear garment. After the half-hour presentation, we were invited to look at the collection closely, to feel the fabrics and examine the details. As I took in one seductive cashmere cream pencil skirt, Ford walked by and stopped briefly. “Feel free to shop!” he joked cheerfully. Right. Tom Ford's prices are astronomical. The rumour is that one of his autumn-winter 2012 dresses will set you back a cool $18,000. I left the showroom thrilled and completely dazed. In fact, I had to go lie down for a bit, because all the excitement had caused a system overload in my brain.