December 22, 2017 by Chris Kilkus
When Tom and Dom Left Gucci Group
A decade of near total creative control at Gucci and later Yves Saint Laurent saw Tom Ford at the top of his design game — critics swooned, celebrities wore and people bought, a rare trifecta in high fashion.
Ford’s rise to true design star was aided by the fact that Gucci was flailing when he came on board in 1990 to oversee women’s ready-to-wear, and didn’t really turn a corner until 1995, when Ford’s first fall collection as creative director hit the runway. The collection’s focus on bold, jet-set allure was a hit and set the brand on a path to dominate the late Nineties and early Aughts with slinky nighttime looks that mixed a little bit of grease with a lot of glamour. Ford’s tenure at the house was so successful that the revival of an ailing brand is still sometimes known as “doing a Gucci” and Natalie Massenet told WWD in 2004 that before Ford’s Gucci turnaround, ailing brands were simply left for dead. “He’s the defibrillator of fashion,” she said.
Ford also had a groundbreaking and often controversial marketing vision that gave new meaning to the age-old advertising quip: “sex sells.” In 2001, just after he’d taken the