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Tom Ford On Returning To What Works

Tom Ford has never been a designer to shy away from contention which, in addition to his cinematic work and eye-catching campaigns, was most recently witnessed when he ditched the see-now, buy-now model he was one of the first to pioneer and announced his return to the New York Fashion Week schedule in September. But as much as it marks a return to his tried-and-tested way of showing (he revealed that the retail-to-runway model hindered valuable editorial coverage earlier this year), the designer told New York Magazine this week that we can expect his signatures to shine.

"I have a very defined customer and a very defined look. I’m seeing a lot of collections I did in the Nineties referenced by other designers, and I look at that and I say, 'How interesting, maybe I should remember what it was that I was all about and go back'," he said. "That’s what this September’s show will be about. I hope that I’m returning to what I’ve always believed in, but in a new way. You will always have moments when you are more in fashion and less in fashion, and if you don’t stay true to yourself, you will lose your way. Hopefully I will look like what I’ve always looked like."

In addition to analyzing his own aesthetic, Ford is confident to comment on what his contemporaries are up to - especially when it comes to the controversial topic of the ironically fun-sounding "Fashion Musical Chairs".

"This whole musical-chairs thing that’s going on now at brands I find so dangerous," he said. "I think Riccardo Tisci is brilliant, and he was doing a terrific job at Givenchy. I have no idea why he’s gone. Nicolas Ghesquière was doing a great job at Balenciaga. When the customer identifies with a brand and then you flip the designer and a new one comes in, how does that brand have consistency over time? How does it mean something? And with the number of collections that we’re expected to do now - before I show this one, I’m already working on that one - how is that supposed to work? It’s crazy. Maybe people will start longing for something that is not as disposable, but I really don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows."

What he does know, however, is how to target his customers around the world in different ways by tailoring his famously provocative campaign images for each market.

"There’s a real tightening in America," he revealed. "When we’d shoot an ad campaign, we used to shoot for the world, and then we’d shoot a Middle East version because there are certain rules, like a man can’t touch a woman and everyone has to be clothed. But now we shoot three versions: We shoot the world version, the conservative version, and the Middle East version. The conservative version is for America."

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