Tom Ford’s career in 7 iconic moments that wrote history of fashion.
Tom Ford is a King Midas of every creative sector, from fashion to his exceptional sartorial ars, from design aesthetics to beauty, from photography to cinema, which has also made him appreciated as a talented director.
The announcement of his farewell to fashion had been in the air for some time, but we were not actually ready for the official news.
He was barely 29 when Maurizio Gucci wanted him to head the artistic direction of the women’s line in 1990.
He, Tom, a handsome boy born and bred in Texas, who had never before worked for an Italian fashion house, let alone one of Gucci‘s caliber, accepted without a qualm in what turned out to be a flywheel for his sensational, dizzying, fast career. He became director of design in 1992, then head of the entire artistic direction in 1994; in 2002, he was elected vice president of the board of directors, until 2004, when he decided to leave the company founded by Guccio Gucci and the following year found his eponymous brand, Tom Ford.
Before his arrival, the company with the iconic double G logo was on the brink of bankruptcy: he deserves the credit for having transformed a brand that in the eyes of public opinion was tainted by internal intrigues and family wars – with dramatic implications – into something exclusive, luxurious and desirable.
A new path begins for him at the head of his brand, which will lead him to become not only a synonym for elegance, but a true sex symbol and ambassador of himself. After all, you don’t become one of the most influential men of the 21st Century for nothing: Tom Ford is a King Midas of every creative sector, from fashion to his exceptional sartorial ars, from design aesthetics to beauty, from photography to cinema, which has also made him appreciated as a talented director.
A phenomenon that turns everything into something epic, memorable, iconic.
In this editorial we retrace some of the most iconic moments of his career, through some key pieces of his timeless style, fashion shows and campaigns that have made fashion history.
1) When he invented minimalist chic.
Tom Ford is the quintessence of chic simplicity: he is the man who invented black suits, formal and mass-produced, white shirts slightly unbuttoned, but never too much to be excessive. When he showed up on the catwalk wearing light blue denim, he immediately turned it into haute couture. In sunglasses and a double-breasted dinner jacket, he showed the world how to be cool and overdressed in one fell swoop, with ease and without looking plastered.
Who doesn’t remember the iconic red velvet women’s tuxedo, which Tom Ford created for the F/W 1996-97 show and which to this day is still a symbol of masculine elegance sublimated for the female body; it is a dress that anticipates genderless and takes sartorial practice to the next level.
2) When he revolutionized the House of Gucci.
The bond between Gucci and Tom is destined to remain in the fashion world. No one, in the history of the brand or elsewhere, has managed to increase sales by 90% in the first year of business alone as he did. His vision at Gucci has always been clear: to transmit his innate sensuality to the female line, imagining a strong, bold and beautiful woman facing the world wearing minimal but super sexy clothes that caress the body softly, with a few metallic details here and there.
Mario Testino‘s famous campaign where a seductive Georgina Grenville, in a white jersey dress with a hole in the hips, towers over model Ludovico Benazzo who is literally overwhelmed by her sex appeal, is history.
3) When he made us discover the navel as a new erogenous zone.
True eroticism lies in the details, so the Texan designer has often argued.
For the Gucci 1996 / 1997 collection, Ford opens the fashion show with a very sensual Kate Moss, in a blouse unbuttoned to the belly and low-waisted trousers, showing her belly button, which immediately becomes a real ‘obsession’: everyone starts wearing tight, short t-shirts, very low-waisted trousers and crop tops that leave the belly uncovered. Tom Ford anticipates one of the must-haves of the Y2K aesthetic.
4) When he became a model and designer of his own brand.
Ford is the first designer who has also been a model of his brand, creating around himself an image that is both a powerful marketing action and a reworking of his own style.
In April 2005, he launched his first eyewear line ‘Tom Ford Private Eyewear Collection’: a special edition of glasses and frames designed for eyewear connoisseurs.
Elegant, minimalist, and made of premium materials, in addition to the specifics of the collection, the particularity of the launch lies in the testimonial: Ford is the first designer who also becomes the testimonial of his own product.
5) When he invented the tailored zip.
The iconic Texan designer made mega-zips his trademark, bringing to the catwalks and prêt-à-porter collections as the star of silhouettes large zips that wrap around garments, making them look ultra-contemporary and sexy.
Zips with him have become real must-haves: accessories that define the line and cut of dresses and shoes, that make a pair of stiletto boots more sensual or embellish a monochrome mini-dress.
6) When he moved everyone at the last Gucci fashion show.
Gucci – Fall / Winter 2004 Collection. Tom Ford walked off the Gucci stage one last memorable fashion show, amidst petals, soft lighting and decadent atmospheres.
The Texan designer’s farewell to the Italian fashion house was a triumph of glamour and melancholy, in which the models presented decadent outfits, skirts with thigh-high slits, Hollywood diva dresses and leather and fur jackets on the catwalk. Long, warm applause and much emotion accompanied Ford’s farewell at the end of the show.
7) When he launched the fashion of the visible thong.
The history of Tom Ford’s G-string for Gucci dates back to 1997, when the designer presented it worn by both a woman and a man, with nothing but shoes, a watch and sunglasses.
At that moment, Ford consecrated the thong as a haute couture piece, leaving behind the taboo and the halo of vulgarity that it had always engendered until then.
The thong was provincialized by Ford, who made it one of the most iconic and significant pieces of the 1990s and one of the most daring trends in fashion history.
Our editorial ends here, all that remains is to thank the fashion genius for helping to create a world of beauty and sensuality, without vulgarity.