Speaking of FW, Tom Ford’s FW11 lookbook dropped, and it’s everything you would expect from the designer - glamourous and bold, but still elegant. This feels like a Ralph Lauren Purple Label mixed with Burberry, added with a touch of luxe from Cucinelli. Note the big shoulders, wide lapels, and pants with big cuffs and wide leg openings. Like all of his other collections, these designs are inspired from his days at Studio 54, where he found his love for men and, I imagine, cocaine (aka makeout powder).
If you’ve ever been in a Tom Ford store, it actually feels a bit like what you’d imagine Studio 54 would feel like. It’s hard to describe the experience exactly, but every time I’ve walked in, I feel like I’m on a coke-induced sex orgy with super models, whilst on a fur rug and partying to disco music. There’s an unabashed sexuality to his work, and he doesn’t shy away from luxury, even when it veers into ostentation.
I wish I could wear much of his stuff, but I know I could never get away with. Especially not as an Asian graduate student. Still, it’s hard not to be awed by his collections and career. Ford has no formal training in fashion, after all. He studied architecture at Parsons, but upon graduating, he called Cathy Hardwick every day for a month until she agreed to interview him for a job. He finally won the job, worked under Hardwick for two years, and then moved to Perry Ellis.
After two years at Perry Ellis, however, he started to realize how suffocating American design can be. Menswear already can be a bit limiting, but American men seem to have a particular anxiety about not wanting to be “too stylish.” Thus he moved to Italy to work for Gucci, which was at the time was a failing brand on the verge of bankruptcy. Within four years, he became the creative director, and by three years time after that, he increased sales by 90% and brought Gucci to an IPO. He was credited with putting glamour back into fashion by introducing Halston-style velvet hipsters, skinny satin shirts, and car-finish metallic patent boots; as well as pushing sexuality to new limits with ads showing men shaving the Gucci logo into women’s pubic hair. The combination of goods and marketing made Gucci one of the most successful Italian brands in the 1990s. His term was so successful, in fact, that Gucci eventually bought Yves Saint Laurent, a move that would later result in Laurent writing a letter to Ford saying that Ford had destroyed everything he, Laurent, had worked his whole life building.
Unfortunately, ten years after having been promoted to creative director, Ford left Gucci, citing artistic control differences with the bosses. He now does his own line and directs films. His collections utilize the same formula that made him a hit at Gucci - extremely glamourous designs and provocative marketing campaigns. He once said of his Black Orchid cologne that he designed it to “smell like a man’s crotch.” Having never smelled a man’s crotch, I don’t know if it indeed does, but I do recognize brilliant marketing when I see it.
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- wearingasuitfornoreason said: great review/history/write-up!
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- inmargewetrustandstuff said: I like it for the most part, but would you even be able to handle pants that aren’t tight as fuck
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