Tom Ford is something of a deity in the fashion world–from revamping Gucci to creating covetable luxury beauty products–for men, natch–it sometimes seems like Ford can do no wrong. Even A Single Man, his very first directorial effort, was Oscar-nominated.
Still, Ford is not without his mistakes. When the designer re-entered the world of womenswear after a hiatus in September 2010, he kept his guest list tight and only allowed photographer Terry Richardson to shoot the collection. The decision made a splash at first–but as he tells Business of Fashion, the model eventually began to hurt rather than help.
“I think one of the reasons I was really resisting digital, was because it’s less controllable,” Ford says of his prior anti-runway philosophy. “The thing about a journalist like Cathy Horyn or Suzy [Menkes], [is] that they have a certain integrity. They fact check. They have a history. They know what they are watching. A blogger today could have a lot of followers, but maybe doesn’t have that sense of history or that level of professionalism. You can’t control that so you have to just let go.”
But even with all that control, Ford’s shows are still subject to negative press–like that which came flooding in after his disastrously reviewed Spring 2012 collection. Ford had only intended to invite fashion editors, but felt forced to put on a runway presentation after he was accused of arrogance.
“It was not meant to be a show,” Ford explains. “It was a showroom collection that 4 days before we decided to put on a little runway, because everyone kept calling and getting really angry.”
So it’s no surprise that the results were disappointing, to put it lightly. Le Figaro‘s Virginie Mouzat called the show a “nightmare” and “an out-of-style Gucci collection,” among other choice insults–and it turns out Ford wouldn’t argue with her assessment.
“I agree with her that it was a terrible collection,” the designer admits (though he did add he felt Mouzat got too personal). “It was probably the worst collection that I have ever done. It was a terrible, terrible show.”
Still, Ford isn’t one to take hits lying down. He’s since changed his show model–he admits that not inviting digital outlets did a “disservice” to the brand, so he started inviting those same bloggers he’d been so worried about–and has revamped his approach with womenswear.
“I thrive on failure,” Ford says. “I thrive on things that are not perfect. It sends me back into the ring to get it right.”