GUCCI — Legacy of Tom Ford
What does it take to be museum-worthy? Perhaps transforming one of the world’s most coveted fashion brands and making a unique contribution to the sartorial culture of the 21st century is a sure sign way to be immortalized. Or at least the Italian luxury house Gucci seems to think so, as they have dedicated two of its rooms in its Florence museum to former Creative Director Tom Ford, memorializing the way in which he ushered the label into the modern era.
Ford arrived at Gucci in the 90s, taking the reigns of the celebrated yet struggling Italian brand that was confined to a storied and conventional past. He stepped into the role during a time when many would not; speculation ran rife that the fashion house was unraveling at the seams with leadership and financial troubles, adding to the desperation of needing a reboot.
Seeing this as an opportunity to completely overhaul the brand and shed the heavy, outdated burden of what Gucci once was, Ford was ready to steer the brand into the 21st century with his sensuous approach that produced a series of celebrated collections-- featuring sleek tailoring and retro 70s glamour, allowing the classic fashion house to return its position as a fashion frontrunner as well as securing “the most directional designer in Milan” title for Ford.
Both of the two rooms at Gucci Museo were curated by Ford’s hand-picked protégé—Gucci’s current Creative Director Alessandro Michele—whose aim was to represent Ford’s aesthetic for the House in the 90s and early part of this century. These outfits and accessories are symbolic of collections that were hugely influential in the world of fashion at the time, and which, by shaking-up the established conventions of the industry, genuinely challenged ideas of what fashion could be through uninhibited self-expression.
The first of the two Tom Ford rooms at the Gucci Museo showcases his infamous accessories. The colour palette begins with mauve lilac matelassé coats the walls and billows dramatically across the ceiling while siphoning off at the cherry red carpet. Here, these historical relics of fashion’s past include familiar items such as bags and shoes, as well as those products from the Ford era that became notorious, like the Gucci GG G-string, handcuffs and dog collar.
His second room features his ready-to-wear collections, revealing the free-spirit of his inner provocateur with vibrant cherry reds seductively swathed from carpet to ceiling and sensual orchids enveloping the crowd of mannequins, all wearing his most critically acclaimed pieces.
Though Ford has since moved on to begin his wildly successful eponymous label Tom Ford, his creations at Gucci are heralded as the most impactful statements of fashion to grace runways of Gucci during the 90s, if not the fashion landscape as a whole. Now, with much thanks (or molte grazie) to Gucci Museo, legions of fans and casual observers can admire his legacy and contributions to fashion culture for years and years to come.