From Elsa Schiaparelli‘s surrealist couture and Christian Dior’s groundbreaking “New Look” silhouette to Alexander McQueen’s subversive challenge of the industry at large, fashion has had its fair share of major moments. With key ideas, collections, and singularly iconic pieces, these designers have established their names in the fashion canon as its most important thinkers and artists. In this category, you’ll find a legendary designer who happens to be celebrating his birthday today: Tom Ford.
When Ford first swept onto the fashion scene as the flashy, ridiculously photogenic, and unapologetically blunt Creative Director of Gucci in 1994 (after working within the brand at various other positions), he caused a seismic shift in the fashion industry. There was something fresh, rebellious, and compelling about his idea of luxury. For years, Italian maisons were operated by families, passing down codes to each generation, but this chiseled-jaw American hailing from Austin, TX was the opposite of stuffy or predictable.
Instead of traditional luxury offerings, Ford aimed his focus on slinky designs, sexually charged campaign imagery, and suggestive messaging. In fact, when we think “Tom Ford for Gucci”, we think of rich jewel-toned palettes, mega furs, tight leather pants, sumptuous velvet suits, and sensual cut-outs placed right across the hip bones. His aesthetic was a tad tawdry, irreverent at its core, and instantly identifiable.
In a new era, under Alessandro Michele’s leadership, Gucci’s aesthetic is still instantly identifiable, but with a very, very different vibe. Today’s Gucci is eclectic, androgynous, covered-up, and layered with dozens of accessories – certainly a far cry from the Ford era. In this Gucci retrospective, you’ll discover what Gucci looked like when Tom Ford steered the ship, which serves as a reminder of how each maison is a reflection of its master.