Tom Ford had corona-depression, he found fashion to be so ‘frivolous’ this year

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For many, many years, Tom Ford has been one of those fashion people who eschews comfort for himself and other people. I actually think Ford is a brilliant designer and image-maker, but I have to laugh at his persnickety idea of what is and is not tacky? Tacky: flip-flops, children’s dinosaur shoes, and Melania Trump. Not tacky: paying $10K for a caftan. But like so many fashion people, the pandemic threw Tom Ford for a loop. He was deeply depressed and feeling like his work didn’t mean much in the scope of a global health crisis. He explained in his notes for his latest (spring/summer 2021) collection.

Coronavirus depression almost derailed Tom Ford’s latest collection, as the designer thought that introducing new fashions would be ‘frivolous’ and needless during a worldwide pandemic. In his show notes for his Spring/Summer 2021 collection, Ford, 59, explained that he started working on it when Los Angeles was in ‘strict lockdown,’ and he was plagued by an attitude of, ‘who needs new clothes?’

‘When I began working on this collection, we were under strict lockdown. The coronavirus pandemic was in full swing. Social unrest was filling the news every day. I had been wearing the same dirty jeans, jeans shirt, T-shirt, and trainers for weeks. I had not left the house in months. I was irritated when I had a Zoom meeting because it meant washing my hair and perhaps trimming my beard. At the time, the thought of designing a collection seemed frivolous when so many important and disturbing things were happening in our world. Our stores were all closed and fashion itself just seemed like an extravagance. It was hard to focus, to concentrate, to be inspired.’

With his sample rooms in Italy and LA closed, he ‘wasn’t sure if I could make a collection even if I felt inspired to do so. As this all dragged from spring into the summer and as I think we could all feel a global depression (both financial and psychological) worsening, I thought about skipping the season altogether. After all, when no one can go out of their house, who needs new clothes? If you can’t go to the office, why do you need a new suit? If there is not a dinner or a party to go to, why would you need a new dress? And heels seemed absurd altogether. I mean, why would one walk around their apartment in a new pair of heels or sit and homeschool their kids in a pair of jeweled platforms? I feel that honestly fashion should simply go into hibernation for a year.’

But his perspective changed when lockdown started to ease a bit in LA, and he was able to have a couple friends over at a time for an outdoor, socially-distanced meal.

‘I think that months and months of looking at people on Zoom with no makeup, dirty hair, and bad lighting have made me long for the indulgence of fill-on makeup,’ he wrote. So when styling his models in the new collection, he picked bright, vivid makeup like hot pink lipstick and blue eyeshadow. ‘It does, of course, look great on Zoom,’ he added. But sadly, Ford concluded, even now the world looks similar to how it did months ago, with the pandemic ‘waiting to pounce’ and social unrest ‘worse than ever.’

‘I can only hope that by the time these clothes reach the stores in spring ’21, that it will be a more optimistic time. A time when we can all perhaps breathe a sigh of relief and begin to return to our lives as we knew them,’ he wrote. ‘The global zeitgeist always affects fashion and for me this longing for a hopeful spring translates into somewhat classic, relaxed clothes that make me smile. Clothes to have a bit of fun in.’

[From The Daily Mail]

I think we tend to think of public figures as relatively unchanging, and even now, six/seven months into the pandemic, we expect athletes and fashion designers and celebrities to just get on with it and adjust and be the same as ever. But the corona-depression is real, and it’s okay to just be sad, and to not know how to feel, and to grieve over the hundreds of thousands of lives lost and more. It’s okay to let this year change who you are. I just didn’t expect it to happen to Tom Ford. That being said, who really is going to buy this stuff right now?

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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19 Responses to “Tom Ford had corona-depression, he found fashion to be so ‘frivolous’ this year”

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  1. Vava says:

    I follow some fashion bloggers and haven’t really been enjoying any of it since the pandemic hit. Some of those bloggers are really flippant and the ones who I’ve really come to despise are those who are not social distancing OR wearing masks. They are in the position to set an example and yet…they don’t. The materialism is gross.
    That said, I don’t have a problem wearing fancy shoes around the house. Sometimes I dress up, too, because it lifts my spirits in an odd way.

  2. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Flip flops ARE tacky lol.

  3. Molly says:

    I’d wear that caftan in my home office, TBH.

  4. Veronica S. says:

    It is frivolous, to be honest. That doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Creation is inherently human; turning it into academia and economy is a different issue. Fashion is art, but fine art is a function of the indulgence provided by stable, well off societies. If you remove the supports for that, whether economically, socially, or (in this case) heath-wise, you lose the thread of its purpose because lower hierarchy needs have to be addressed. What he’s going through is hardly atypical, IMO. There’s a lot of things whose meaning relies on our ability to imbue it with one. We just don’t think about it until something this dramatic happens.

    • Sarah says:

      You have made this point far more effectively than I could have so I’m just going to comment that I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  5. Nev says:

    Amazing ICON. So happening this man.

  6. Elizabeth M. says:

    I agree that a lot of fashion seems like a waste right but but I’m glad Tom, as an artist whose medium is fabric and clothing, has got some of his creative spark back. I think it really depends on the individual – some people need to dress up or dress up in some way feel better mentally or continue a routine, whether putting on makeup, wearing flashy jewelry or kick ass shoes, and some don’t see the point. Whatever works for them.

  7. Heylee says:

    He’s a beautiful man who I’ve always found fascinating. These blanket inspired caftans are not doing it for me though.

  8. Lucy says:

    He’s 59?????

    • duchess of hazard says:

      Yeah, he’s been around for a minute. Tom Ford keeps himself well maintained. He’s always have done.

  9. Sarah says:

    I find it so helpful to hear other people to talk about their experiences of all this as so much of what I see around me is focussed on just moving forwards and I’m still emotionally all over the place.

  10. JRT says:

    I wish his attitude would change on the price points for his clothes and products!!! I love Tom Ford’s Vanilla Tobacco fragrance, but paying over ($200 CAD) for a small bottle is absolutely ridiculous!
    Thank goodness for those little perfumer testers that the Sephora staff will make for you….I get a little bit of precious heaven each time I visit! :)

  11. Ashley says:

    Materialism disgusted me when I worked at Neiman Marcus. The amount of money people spend on ridiculous items. And then moving to Paris American materialism became something I didn’t want to be apart of. Thé à French dont concern themselves with all of this even though they’re the fashion capital of the world.

    I’ve been buying clothes during the pandemic because they’re pretty but I don’t have anywhere to wear them to, they’re just waiting to be worn when this is over. My job is remote so even when it’s over I won’t really have a place to wear them to. I’m glad he was able to at least realize how frivolous it all is. And even more so during this, and that he expressed that. I work in fashion (not because I want to but because It’s what I get hired for) and it’s just all so meaningless. I love Ford, I think he’s brilliant, but that he would still sell a $10k caftan means he didn’t really learn all that much.

  12. ce says:

    I relate a lot to what he’s saying, but I moved through it too. At one point I started wearing real clothes, then styling myself a little nicer, just for fun so it hasn’t just been sweatpants. I’ve almost completely foregone makeup (and bras) at this point, but every so often I can indulge. I appreciate what I have now, I feel honored to have a full closet of clothes I can wear out and the health to do so someday. I’m not in the mood to go shopping for a good long while, but I’ve sewn several new pieces for myself while being stuck here and I’m proud of them

  13. The Recluse says:

    I suspect that most people are focused on tried and true pieces of clothing, the stuff that never goes out of style and is made to last. Gotta make that dollar stretch.

  14. L says:

    I dont believe fashion is frivolous at all. I see fashion as a vital form of self expression, creativity and identity, which you do not cease to have simply because you are not socializing. It may not be essential in the same way healthcare is, but that does not mean that fashion isn’t wanted or needed. I see nothing wrong with wearing bejewelled heels while home schooling, or whatever the example was… fashion can bring a little colour, spark, pizazz, glamour, creativity and imagination to the most dreary, routine tasks.

    Frankly I am surprised to hear an artist say what Tom said, but im also astounded that this has never crossed his mind before.