Oh, what did the Internet ever do to Tom Ford? Slap him? Trip him on his way into a room? Pull his chest hair? Because, Internet, he’s had it with you and the monster of immediacy you’ve created. He’s had it with your Twitter, and your camera-phone apps, and your needing things posted now now now NOW! And celebrities? He’s had it with you, too, and the way you snatch up clothes and wear them in front of cameras with the hopes that the pictures will float all over the Internet, to people all over the world, who won’t be able to buy them for months and months. And you designers who send out the dresses? Tsk tsk. He won’t let you, Internet, or you, celebrities, or the rest of you overeager, gadget-addicted people ruin his return to womenswear, the most fabulous of fabulous events — the event of the spring 2011 season in New York — held on Sunday night in his Madison Avenue store, decorated “with bare magnolia branches with pink cymbidium orchids individually attached,” according to WWD. That is why he forbade any photographers but his own (Terry Richardson, and his team of six) from coming in and shooting the clothes. That is why the only celebrities attending were the ones asked to model the clothes. And these are a few of the reasons there was no runway show: There was no need.
Ford will release the images of his choosing, retouched to his satisfaction, on his website in December, along with one of those Internet videos every fashion person feels compelled to make these days. (And why? They’re all so similar: dim lighting, model writhing, eerie music, yay clothes, and scene.) They will appear in magazines only beginning with January issues, so that customers can get excited about the clothes before they hit stores in February. Ford spoke to WWD about why he’s making the public wait until December:
This fashion immediacy thing — yes, if you can order the clothes immediately, if you can see them and press a button and they can be shipped to your house, I get fashion immediacy.…I don’t get the need for this immediacy. In fact, I think it’s bad.
The way the system works now, you see the clothes, within an hour or so they’re online, the world sees them. They don’t get to a store for six months. The next week, young celebrity girls are wearing them on red carpets. They’re in every magazine. The customer is bored with those clothes by the time they get to the store. They’re overexposed, you’re tired of them, they’ve lost their freshness, you see somebody wearing it and you say, “Oh, that’s that jacket that was in blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Or [a] customer doesn’t want to wear that jacket that was in blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. In addition, all of the fast-fashion companies that do a great job, by the way, knock everything off. So it’s everywhere all over the streets in three months and by the time you get it to the store, what’s the point?
I’m holding everything back, controlling all the photography. I’m sure there were some leaks last night from people shooting with cell phones. I wish that that hadn’t happened. I don’t know if it did — I’m sure it did. I’m holding the photography back. I’m holding all the clothes back. The clothes are not going out to magazines before January issues. The clothes are not going to celebrities before December. The images are not being released online until December, when they’ll go online on my Web site.
This is a hyper-controlled Ford operation at its best. Though the designer said he hand-selected all his models, including Lauren Hutton, Rachel Feinstein, and Beyoncé among other luminaries, and designed each look for each woman (women! Not girls!), he didn’t let them have any say in the final look. “They all absolutely trusted me,” he said. “I took their measurements. They had no idea what they were wearing. That was it.” And everyone was happy in the end, right? Maybe his time-lapse thing will work, too. But it begs the question: Which is more powerful, Tom Ford or the Internet? In case you needed another indication as to how beloved this man is, fashion people would probably say Tom Ford.