Tom Ford: He Looks Younger As His Collection Look Older


Tom Ford has finally released the video of his Spring 2011 womenswear collection that was shown last September. Set to the music of model/singer Karen Elson’s song “Pretty Babies” the video combines backstage shots and runway clips of the dozen celebrities and models who vamped around in the clothes while other cameras recorded the adoring reactions from the editors in the audience.

The clothing seemed to heavily reference the 1970’s — but more on that later. The show, which was attended by about 100 A-list editors reminded me of the small “exclusive” salon shows that were very popular back in 1980’s. Watching the video was like going back in a time machine.  And speaking of old time editors, all the “usual suspects” were there with Anna Wintour front and center. I saw the faces of quite a number of editors in the video who were covering the shows since the 1980’s. I would say the audience’s average age was close to 50 years old.

 Most curious, there was just one photographer at the show. Uber lensman Terry Richardson gave new meaning to “runway photographer” by standing right on the runway shooting the models as they walked toward him (The mirror in back of the runway can play havoc with Terry’s pictures if he was shooting flash on camera). Not sure I get the point, I mean they could have hired Dan Lecca to shoot the show and given Terry a seat?

While Mr. Ford continues to look younger and younger with every new nip-and-tuck done by his masterful plastic surgeon, his collection looked older and older. It was Gucci all over again with a little YSL thrown in – nothing more and nothing less. The models were showing a lot of skin –some with their boobs ready to fall out – I suppose he had to make the clothing look even more sexy?

It was not just Ford’s collection that seemed out-of-sync with the time. He stated in Vogue his anti-celebrity and anti-Internet views: “I do not understand everyone’s need to see everything online the day after a show,” he says. “I don’t think it ultimately serves the customer, which is the whole point of my business — not to serve journalists or the fashion system. To put something out that’s going to be in a store in six months, and to see it on a starlet, ranked in US magazine next week? My customer doesn’t want to wear the same thing she saw on a starlet!”

 Tom Ford does not play up to fashion journalists? Are we talking about the same fellow? He played “hard to get” with the fashion media and just look at the coverage he got for this collection! But frankly, in the age of the Internet, he is something of a dinosaur. Of course there will be customers with money to burn who will stand in line to buy his collections. He will always be a safe bet for those who live and die buying labels. But these customers are an aging group. Does Mr. Ford really have  anything new to offer the younger and hipper customers who don’t remember him as well? Does he know how to communicate with them in this age of Social Media? Or, is he part of the gilded age of fashion that is more memory now than anything else?

  What is old, is not always new again, no matter how much of a facelift you give it.

-Ernest Schmatolla



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.


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