Tom Ford at Gucci
Cathy Horn brings her in-depth knowledge of fashion’s past to The Cut’s ‘It’s Vintage’ series with Tom Ford Gets Candid About His Years At Gucci.
The Gucci brand was such a mess when Tom Ford took the helm of its design process after Dawn Mello returned to New York in the spring of 1994 to become president of Bergdorf Goodman that he had little to lose. As Investcorp weighed a sale of Gucci, Ford says he seriously considered leaving the company after his first lady milktoast show in the fall of 1994.
Continuing on, Ford studied the fabled, fabulous women who wore Gucci in its glory days and concluded that — unlike Chanel — their was no real look to the clothes. Rather the glamour came from the women themselves. Ford quickly moved to zero in on the models themselves, putting a spotlight on them as they came down the runway and killing all the VIPs in the front row. Ford also had a keen sense that people wanted to look sexy again.
It’s interesting to trace journalists’ reactions between 1994 and March of 1996, when Ford showed perhaps his most celebrated collection, the one with the slinky cutout gowns in white jersey, for which he received a standing ovation. Until the hip-hugger men’s show, Amy Spindler of the New York Times, who became one of his most ardent admirers, typically landed Ford’s men’s shows near the bottom of her reviews. But after Florence she called the show “the most directional for the magazines.” By July, she had upgraded Ford to “the most directional designer in Milan,” and in September of 1995, in an insightful column headlined “Flip-Flop: The Runway Leads the Street,” she elaborated on “the Gucci influence.” Fashion brands at all levels were suddenly turning out hip-huggers.
In short order, Gucci revenues in the first nine months of 1995 doubled to $342 million. Enter now Carine Roitfeld and Mario Testino. Describing Roitfeld, Tom Ford said “This is my woman.”
Veronique Hyland picks up the Tom Ford story with Tom Ford’s Gucci Ads Took the ‘Sex Sells’ Tactic To New Heights.
He understood more than anyone else that sex sells,” says Fern Mallis. And he assembled a dream team to help carry out his vision: photographer Mario Testino, stylist Carine Roitfeld, and creative director Doug Lloyd. In that era, Testino recalled in a 2008 interview with the Independent, “advertising campaigns became more exciting than editorial. When I started doing Gucci with Tom Ford he pushed me to new heights. He was, like, ‘I’ve seen you do better than that. Don’t get worried because it’s a campaign.
Tom Ford’s sexy Gucci campaigns reached a new zenith in 2003 with Carmen Kass’ pubic hair controversy. The Daily Mail responded to the ad with the following headline: ‘The people behind this advert are no better than pimps and those who advertise sexual services in phone boxes.’ The columnist Bel Mooney went on to call the work ‘predictable, exploitative, upmarket sleaze.’ The newspaper went on to question British Vogue for accepting the ad with ‘Sleazy stunt’ from fashion leader.
Picking up the story, AOC notes that The Guardian said the British public wasn’t at all outraged with only 16 complaints made to the ASA. By contrast Yves Saint Laurent’s notorious Opium advert featuring a naked Sophie Dahl provoked 730 complaints to the ASA. This was mainly because it appeared on poster sites, where it could be seen by children.
Before leaving Kering, then called the Gucci Group, in 2004 Tom Ford also took creative control at Yves Saint Laurent. Most everything that Tom Ford touched became fashion gold during those years. After leaving Gucci, Ford developed his own brand Tom Ford. As Veronique Hyland wrote in March 2015: News to No One: Tom Ford Objectifies Everyone.
Tom Ford Feminist
Just this afternoon AOC got in a scuffle over Charlize Theron’s incredibly seductive May W Magazine images ‘Mad Beautiful’. A woman wrote: ‘I don’t like that all these pictures are sexual and nothing more … is that all women are still today? She’s an Oscar-winning actress currently at the top of her field. She was named a United Nations messenger of peace; she created CTAOP to fight AIDS/HIV in the African youth population, but you’d never know it from this presentation of her.’
To women who hold such views about ‘Mad Beautiful’, explaining that Tom Ford is a feminist and lover of women is likely to be met with a roll of the eyes. We should say that Tom Ford is a Smart Sensuality Woman feminist: smart, sexy and a social activist.
One can’t deny that Tom Ford objectifies women and especially female sensuality. But he does so with a broad brush — one that challenges the Puritanical nature of cultures that see female sexuality has something pornographic and immoral. In this respect, Tom Ford challenges the hypocrisy of conventional morality on a wide range of topics. More importantly, Ford doesn’t maintain a double standard for men and women.
“I’ve been criticized for objectifying women,” the designer told The Guardian. “But I’m an equal opportunity objectifier — I’m just as happy to objectify men. The thing is, you can’t show male nudity in our culture in the way you can show female nudity. We’re very comfortable as a culture exploiting women, but not men. But I don’t think of it as exploitation [either way].”
Asked by The Guardian if he considers feminism in his depiction of women, Ford replies: ‘I always think about feminism … my mother was ‘a real 1970s feminist.’
Let some women be horrified; AOC understands where Tom Ford is coming from.
There’s nothing stronger and more powerful than a beautiful woman. I don’t think expressing what nature intended you to be is anything but powerful. My women are not sitting there waiting for someone, they’re taking charge. Doesn’t matter whether they’re naked – they’re powerful, they’re smart, and you’re not going to get them if they don’t want you.
His muses and models tend to be strong, older women: 70s icon Lauren Hutton (71), socialite Daphne Guinness, actor Emmanuelle Seigner (both in their late 40s) and his close friend, the 54-year-old Oscar-winner Julianne Moore. Ford was the first to sign a then plus-sized Sophie Dahl to a major fragrance campaign, once again in the nude.
As a photographer Tom Ford and Carine Roitfeld cooked up controversial brews when Roitfeld was still at the helm of Vogue Paris. In a single issue of Vogue Paris, the duo presented:
Clarissa & Doug
Loretta Lynch is now the US Attorney General, making her America’s chief law officers. Lynch is the first African American woman to hold the post.
Lynch was confirmed in the Senate 56 to 43. All Democrats voted for her, along with 10 Republicans: Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).
Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of Lynch’s loudest critics, was the only senator to miss the vote. Hours earlier, he railed against Lynch for being “unfit” for the job.
‘Today, the Senate finally confirmed Loretta Lynch to be America’s next Attorney General – and America will be better off for it,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “Loretta’s confirmation ensures that we are better positioned to keep our communities safe, keep our nation secure, and ensure that every American experiences justice under the law.’
Lynch assumes her post after serving as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
The New York Times Magazine shares their latest cover featuring a gigantic piece of street art by France’s JR. Photographed from a helicopter, the man walking is a massive wheatpasting located in the Flatiron Plaza next to Madison Square Park. JR’s street art launches a new initiative Walking New York where on a special interactive site, users can position a pin or enter an address to show the specific location of their favorite walk. In 500 characters, they can then share why that walk is meaningful to them. Select submissions will be published online throughout the coming weeks.
The young man on the cover is Elmar Aliyev, a 20-year-old waiter at Old Baku, an Azerbaijani restaurant in Brooklyn. Elmar immigrated to America last August after winning the green-card lottery. JR’s image was short-lived. Aliyev’s picture was pasted in Flatiron Plaza on April 11 over a period of 3 hours. JR went up in a helicopter to photograph the 150-foot image, a stunning testament to New York’s 3.1 million immigrants that was power-washed away by 9:30 pm. Read on.