This year, for the first time since debuting his women’s collection, Tom Ford presented a large runway show for AW2013 at London Fashion Week. Since launching his womenswear collection in 2010, Mr. Ford has preferred private shows with one photographer and non-disclosure agreements for his guests.
image via Vogue
This year is Nicola Formichetti’s first as the artistic director of the Italian ready-to-wear line, Diesel. Coming off of two years at MUGLER and years as one of the most famous stylists in the world, consumers have come to know what to expect from the young designer because of the regular social media glimpses into his professional and personal worlds.
images via Nicola Formichetti’s Instagram
Where Mr. Ford had made the very conscious decision to avoid the internet and its powers of exposure, Formichetti revels in it.
When designing a ready-to-wear collection, the designer must strike a balance between creative control and running a profitable and sustainable business, along with all the workings that come with it, including marketing and advertising. Mr. Ford’s preference for privacy and control was his effort to make fashion, “fun again, like it was in the 1960s … you couldn’t wait to get the clothes and put them on, and I think we’ve lost that.”
His private showings were the manifestation of Mr. Ford’s well-documented hate of the overexposure of fashion and an effort to mitigate the cult of the celebrity designer, a trend he played a major role in during the 90s.
In an interview in Vogue Hommes Japan, Formichetti’s friend and collaborator, Lady Gaga, explained that she and Formichetti, “love fashion so much but in another way we want to explode it, ruin it and recreate it, then ruin it again and recreate it because I don’t want any status attached to fashion … Nicola wants it to be something for his fans, something that everyone could have.”
It appears that social media and the internet are the means to that end. His Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr feeds are post after post of his travels, his dogs, selfies, behind the scenes images at work, and digital meetups with fans across the globe to search for the new Dielsel models.
In the end, Mr. Ford was a victim of himself. In an interview, Mr. Ford stated, “I now have 100 stores worldwide. The company has jumped and I can no longer service the stores by not showing. So I have to love it and embrace it.” Though he hasn’t gone whole hog with social media, the slow opening of the Tom Ford brand to the public seems to answer definitely the question whether there is a purpose to keeping fans in the dark. I can appreciate Mr. Ford’s efforts to bring the attention back to the clothes, but the very fact remains that we are used to having all the answers in the world a good boolean search away. Why should we make an exception for our clothes?
As for Nicola Formichetti, the last I checked he was showing off a samurai action figure version of himself called NicoSamurai.