It’s hard to believe that Gucci pre Tom Ford was anything but super sexy. But when Ford took over as creative director in the 90s, Gucci was struggling to keep up with what modern women wanted to wear. The company was doing that badly there was even a point where the famous fashion house couldn’t afford to pay its own staff members.
All that changed with Ford’s landmark AW95 collection, which single-handedly revived the brand’s fortunes and launched his career. Recently, he opened up about the transformative show in an interview with the Cut.
After failing to set Milan on fire with his SS95 collection, which kept to Maurizio Gucci’s style with dreamy colours and soft knits, Ford was ready to call it quits. So, as (what he thought would be) a last hoorah for his career at Gucci, he decided to switch things up. “I could have sent anything down that runway. I had a moment where nobody was looking at anything I did.”
Enter a womenswear collection of slinky velvet hiphuggers and louche jewel-toned satin shirts, modelled by Kate Moss and Amber Valetta. It was an unapologetically flash package of runway sex appeal. And when the show was over, Ford took his rebellion one step further by ignoring the clause in his contract that forbade him from taking a bow at the end of the show.
“I thought, 'You know what? I’m going to do what I think is right. I’m going to step on the runway,'” he explains. Gucci executives weren’t even mad – “The next day you could not get into the showroom. It was absolute hysteria. So, no, no one gave me flak after that.”
Ford ushered in a new ultra-glam age of Gucci, one that saw sales at Gucci soar by 90 per cent between 1995 and 1996 alone. So if there’s one thing to learn from this, it’s that taking risks pays off – even when you think nobody’s looking. We’re sure Alessandro Michele must be taking notes.
Follow Natalie Turco-Williams on Twitter here @NatalieTurcoWil
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