In a surprise move no one saw coming, Tom Ford has just announced his retirement from his eponymous brand, which he founded 13 years ago.
Dropping a surprise FW23 that takes us through a timeline of Ford’s past work in a campaign shot by Steven Klein, Tom Ford looks back at the past 13 years. Familiar faces are seen, as models and house muses Joan Smalls, Karen Elson and Amber Valletta, who were all present since that brand’s debut SS11 collection, star in the campaign.
Though it’s not just faces we recognise. The designs present are an ode to some of the most iconic pieces Tom Ford has worked on. There’s a remake of the white caped gown famously worn by Gwyneth Paltrow at the 2012 Oscars, a reference of the velvet suit dating back to his Gucci days, the broken mirror sheath first seen for SS14, and the SS20 bright pink breastplate Zendaya wore at the Critics Choice Awards in 2020.
One of the campaign images includes the 3 muses alongside Karlie Kloss and others, dressed in black, fittingly, attending the funeral of Tom Ford’s Tom Ford era. The theatrics are amped up as the models inside a glass box are seen overlooking the designer, who is outside the box, shrieking in pain. The visual campaign is accompanied by a short film, also shot by Klein, where the designer can be seen walking past a variety of glass boxes that contain the models and his archive designs, quite literally walking through memory lane.
The news comes just a few months after the brand was bought by Estée Lauder for $2.8 billion back in November. It was announced that Ford would remain in charge creatively till the end of 2023, though Ford clearly made a quick escape considering it is only April.
Tom Ford has been known to lead with his heart and leave a fashion house when business and negotiations allegedly trump creativity – we’re looking at you Gucci. With the brand’s new parent company, it could be that Tom Ford lost interest in his own brand that has recently been fueled with a new head and business changes.
Whatever happened, Tom Ford – both the brand and the person – have yet to announce their next steps, but the rumours are already flying – perhaps Alessandro Michele will join the brand officialising the Gucci to Tom Ford pipeline. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Tom Ford knows how to make a comeback.
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