Tom Ford sold is eponymous fashion brand to Estée Lauder Companies in November, but this April decided to retire from the clothing industry altogether. His Spring exist has made quite the stir, as he was speculated to see out the year as the brand’s creative visionary before handing over his role. Despite ditching fashion, the 61-year-old has no intention in abandoning the arts. Having reportedly sold his brand for a lucrative $2.8 billion, he has now decided to channel his creativity into his existing production company, Fade to Black, which is now newcomer to producing successful films. It is, as many of commented, a rather sexy exit, and quintessentially Tom Ford.
Ford began his fashion career with Gucci, where he was credited for reviving the fashion house during a period of flux between 1994-2004. It was at Gucci where he met Peter Hawkings, a long-standing colleague who then joined him at his own namesake’s label, and who will now try to fill Ford’s creative director shoes. It certainly is no easy feat to take the helm from the founder himself, never mind someone as archetypally suave as Tom Ford. A new portrait released of Hawkings interestingly has him donning a very Ford-esque image, the pair look almost uncomfortably similar.
Notorious for his sleek tailoring, and provocative statements, the industry will definitely miss such a loveable character. However, many film critics have been quick to remark on how the certain Tom Ford chicness has already beautifully been transferred into the films he has helped to produce. Two of his most notable feature productions thus far, A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals, have been successful dramatic thriller romances. Whether a farfetched claim or not, it will certainly be interesting to see if the Tom Ford allure can replicate a gripping charisma through the screen as through clothing. Not only does his dapper suited image lend itself nicely to the world of Hollywood, but Ford’s impressive repertoire of design, from womenswear to menswear, to beauty to fragrance, chimes optimistically of his ability to thrive in the world of film.
To mark his departure, Ford released a final collection at the end of last month featuring supermodels from the 1990s wearing a variety of archive designs. This collection has been branded a revival of his favourite looks from his last 13 years. A nod to his new direction, Ford released the collection in a film shot by Steven Klein and using a host of his model muses.
Some critics have remarked that the collection was surprisingly lacklustre for a final farewell. However, with a star-studded career that spanned 33 years, and the recent loss of his life partner and fashion industry comrade Richard Buckley, perhaps Ford is wanting to exit the fashion world sleekly and quietly. The clothes presented were classic Tom Ford glamour, but it was the film choreography that was arguably more of a talking point. The three-part film series saw models perform chaotic dance moves, whilst trapped in Perspex boxes. Meanwhile Ford plays the role of omnipotent designer, patrolling the boxes, and directing the seemingly distressed women with hand signals. Creepily cryptic, and perhaps even alluding to the industry’s tendency to be authoritarian and oppressive, the videos certainly seemed an unusual way to say goodbye. What it did do however, was generate intrigue, generate conversation, and showcase Ford’s cinematic creativity. Although obscure at the moment, perhaps this is just the apt next step in the Tom Ford plan.
by Hebe Street from GLITCH Magazine