A Fashion Turnaround

November 7, 2009 • Magazine

A Fashion Turnaround

A Fashion Turnaround

Sat, 2009-11-07 11:00

Bonnie J Brown

Having a love of fashion and, embarrassingly enough, being a fan of sports themed underdog movies (think Rocky, Major League, Hoosiers, et al) it doesn’t seem surprising that I enjoy the story surrounding the House of Gucci. Who wouldn’t love a story that includes a bit of glamour, lots of struggle and fashion flops all of which leads up to the recruiting of a handsomely dashing and talented young man who ultimately brings home a grand win for his team.

Gucci is currently the most popular and largest selling Italian fashion label today. Creative director, Frida Giannini, has been successfully creating glam-infused garments which feature clean lines and athletic fits for a number of seasons, yet it wasn’t her designs that made Gucci what it is today. While Gucci had seen great success early in its history through the creation of its leather bags, GG logo and bamboo handled handbags, the fashion label grew during the 1960’s and 1970’s thanks to celebrities like Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O. It was in the 1980’s when the brand began to do poorly and the Gucci label, which at one point had been the epitome of European chic, was now considered tacky. While the story of the Gucci family itself is interesting and one fit for any daytime soap opera, it was the strife that led to its downfall. It wasn’t until 1990 that Gucci made a change for the better and brought on American designer, Tom Ford (the hero of our story).

Those not familiar with Ford may find it surprising that his degree from Parson’s is in architecture and not fashion and it was only through persistence that he got a job with sportswear designer, Cathy Hardwick, and then later with Perry Ellis. When Ford moved to Italy, his responsibilities went from designing the women’s line and quickly expanded into designing for menswear, shoes, fragrances, advertising, ready-to-wear and more. Ford became creative director for Gucci in 1994 and by 1999 had turned a nearly bankrupt fashion house into a multi-billion dollar company.

Ford’s impact on not only Gucci but the fashion industry is still evident even today and maybe even more so now that he has a film debuting. If early rumors are true, his film entitled, A Single Man, may even receive an Oscar nomination. Along with his influence in Hollywood, women are still longing for him to return to designing clothes for them, which he has hinted at doing within the next couple of years. But women don’t have to look too hard to find similar looks; Gucci’s spring 2010 collection has pieces reminiscent of Ford’s old pieces that may just have to satisfy us until a later date. And I don’t know about anyone else, but the long sleek dresses with the cheekily placed cut-outs are something I’m a big fan of.

1. Tom Ford stylux.tv
2. Tom Ford for Gucci, Spring 2004 RTW businessweek.com
3. Tom Ford for Gucci, Spring 2002 RTW
4. Tom Ford for Gucci, Spring 2002 RTW
5. Tom Ford for Gucci, Fall 2003 RTW
6. Frida Giannini for Gucci, Spring 2010 RTW
7. Frida Giannini for Gucci, Spring 2010 RTW

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