I have witnessed the rise of this man and his designs over the years, and I must say it is rather difficult not to be impressed and seduced by him. He is what he is and he is aware this mere fact quite clearly. And suffice it to say; he is most certainly not afraid or bashful to share his meticulously-crafted and polished existence on this planet with the rest of the world.
This man was the biggest groundbreaker since Giorgio Armani and the late Gianni Versace when he was at the helm of Gucci and YSL. And he somehow singlehandedly directed, dictated and decided on the Milanese style during the late 90s and early 00s. He became one with the company while the world beneath his fingertips was rapidly changing. And at the eye of this storm that altered the fashion business irreversibly and prepared it for the next century, he made the conscious decision to mold his identity over Gucci to which he has given so much. Tom Ford restructured a new personality and stance for both Gucci, and YSL to a lesser extend: from the very top to the finest detail in image, production, style, PR and most importantly, in business. It has always been hard to resist his presence and the
power that he interminably influenced in style.
Mr. Ford is creative alright, most certainly possesses a sense of composure and finesse, ever so perfectly walks the walk, talks the talk, and refines and redefines design according to what he decides to be the most primed and perfected. He seems to have an answer for everything, because he swiftly places himself as the center of his own universe - the ultimate tastemaker and the demi-God of a designer. Perhaps the 'Oscar Wilde' of his era. I truly admire this vivid character since his will eternally be the story of a luminous vision and forceful manifesto in fashion.
And then there is this the book.
For a hardcover block of a weight heavier than my fridge, it is undeniably and adamantly vapid. There are more empty pages here than the ones with some insightful and sensible text on. The book favors more celebrity-oriented imagery focusing on a glitzy nothingness over the actual designs and the vision that sustained them. It rejoices in its lack of depth and dimension. The designer's self-indulgent proclamations, which the book features regarding his accomplishments and contentions in fashion and his place in it, are generally insipid and somehow come off as seriously reduced. I would expect some form of wordplay from Mr. Ford and his editors that should have been elegant, concise, and substantial all at the same time.
It is just empty. Why putting images of the likes of Lil Kim, or Eve, or whatever, seemed to be more pressing and suitable than a few more shots from his runways, sketches, houses, office space, mag covers; I will never know.
It is very hard to find the images or prints of his designs, ad campaigns including the compelling perfume ads, the accessories from watches to the infamous bamboo heel stilettos... He did not insert any of these iconic images that made him who he is internationally, and instead; we see a captivating dress on a gorgeous model, and on the facing page we had to see the same dress, again, on the pop culture personality Lil Kim within a very poorly-lit and arbitrary tabloid shot.
I don't know how much of his creative decisions went into the actual editing of the book, but this is somewhat insensibly executed. This should not sustain itself as a mindless photography book, enjoying a comfortably numbing visual mediocrity. It is a book titled 'TOM FORD' in obnoxiously colossal capital letters, but you do not get the sense of his presence at all. I did not expect a biography obviously, and I am happy that it is a visual book, because I always thought that the guy is more of a two-dimensional personality than a single-dimension only defined by self-congratulatory adjectives, but for a man that has a lot to say and display, there is a lot that is lacking between the covers of this effort, standing tall with over 400 glossy pages.
Needless to say, I think any price is reasonable for this man and his book that at the very least looks gorgeously architectural, but still... This is the closest he came near imperfection (literally; my first copy was printed incorrectly -had two introductions and no interview- changed it later), Moreover, I do not believe this book stands as a celebration for him, but it is almost the talented designer decidedly attempting to hint what and how much Gucci will lose when he is gone, including his celebrity fans and overall smoke-and-mirrors pizazz he interminably pumps and pumps and pumps...
PS: It is kind of funny that he only has one facial expression... at least in these photos, that is.