Keeping with the fashion theme for this week, I was going to write about the sexuality in the 2007 Tom Ford campaign. Tom Ford is an American fashion designer who is most acclaimed for his sex-related advertisements. Instead of a boring post on sexuality and female nudity in the advertising industry, I am going to analyze Tom Ford’s drastic brand change, demonstrated through advertising campaigns in the past 6 years . If you’re interested in learning more about Tom Ford’s background, here is a wonderfully,well-written bio of him by the New York Times.
“What Tom Ford did for fashion, more than anything else, was to add sex to the equation. He created an identity for Gucci — the jet set, vaguely 70s superbabe (or guy) who traversed the globe in high style. The Gucci woman was sleek and fiery, and the Gucci man was, well, Tom Ford. More than any designer since Coco Chanel, he (Tom Ford) was his brand.”
At the top, is one of Tom Ford’s most well-known advertisements for his first men’s fragrance in 2007, which increased stronger sales for the brand compared to the year before. Not only did it increase sales but created quite a stir within the community for exploiting the female body.
The next image is from 2010 just 3 years later. This image is advertising Tom Ford men’s sunglasses and is still using a nude female model. This is less drastic than the previous ad, but still very forward and sexual.
Finally is an ad that was just released 1 week ago for his spring 2013 collection. Suprisingly, the model is fully clothed and has minimal sexual undertones.
The 2013 Tom Ford collection is drastically different from the Tom Ford brand that we have known in the past. Grazia Daily describes it perfectly “It’s a new minimalist direction for the designer with no controversy, gimmicks or loud statements, so the focus is 100% on the clothes. Good job.” However, there are still sexual undertones with the chain-mail style dress and over-the-knee metal warrior boots. But why is the concept without nudity or overt sexuality? Mr. Ford describes his 2013 spring collection, “If you look too chaste, too buttoned up, you will always look a little dull, but if you go all-out sexy it can look perverse. This collection is about finding the balance.” (Grazia Daily)
There may be confusion because this advertisement is for his women’s clothing line where the model has to be wearing clothes unlike the previous images. But wait, below is a 2013 ad for Tom Ford sunglasses. The model is buttoned up fully featuring the sunglasses not her body unlike the 2010 sunglasses ad.
Why has sexuality disappeared if the Tom Ford Brand was built on this very value? The 2013 ad is sleek,minimal, and focuses the actual clothing. Even fashion writer Suzy Menkes said Tom Ford “refreshed his former image” (LINK) Sure the model is wearing a chain-mail style dress, but this image is a far cry from the 2007 fragrance ad.
Why is it that Tom Ford changed his sexy advertisements to a balanced reserved campaign only 6 years later? Was the over-sexualized 2007 Tom Ford advertisement a way to grab attention and create buzz about his brand? Maybe, yet all brands change, not just the Tom Ford brand. If Tom Ford continued to do nude girls queezing bottles of perfume between their breasts for 20 years people would say that he isn’t creative enough or is becoming boring. Brands evolve over time, even within the span of a year, and advertisements have to demonstrate that. Whether through drastic changes such as those shown or proving a new way of thinking. That being said, today I still relate Tom Ford with the 2007 fragrance image. Is this supposed to be good advertising and branding (the 90% crap) because I remember it? I think not.