10 Minutes With: Tom Ford
September 21, 2016
On September 7, Tom Ford created a substantial shift in the fashion calendar with his first see-now-buy-now runway show. While typically runway collections are shown about six months prior to being available for purchase, Tom Ford ensured every piece from the Autumn/Winter 2016 live-stream event was immediately available to consumers.
Prior to the highly anticipated show, we spoke with the designer himself to discuss the current state of the fashion industry and how his grand idea came to life.
Neiman Marcus: The last time the fashion calendar was upended was in the ’90s, when Helmut Lang shifted his New York presentation to take place before the Milan and Paris shows. Calvin Klein and a few other big names followed, and virtually overnight, the entire fashion calendar flipped. Do you think this show may turn out to have a similar impact?
Tom Ford: The fact is that the fashion industry has changed. The fashion calendar that we had previously adhered to is archaic. My intention was not to convince other brands but to satisfy the increasingly and immediate demands of my customers.
NM: When did this decision come to life? Can you tell us about the process behind your concept?
TF: I had discussed the idea internally for a while prior to making the decision. I am always experimenting with new ways to debut my collections and connect with our customers. Showing the collection as it arrives in stores allowed us to build on the excitement following the show, while also satisfying our customer’s desire to shop a collection that is available instantaneously. True luxury is having the attire you desire, available at one’s disposal.
NM: Tell us about the clothes. While designing, had you already decided that the clothing would be manufactured before they were going to be shown?
TF: The main collection was conceptualized prior to moving the show to September. My decision to align the retail and fashion calendars did not affect the inspiration behind the collection.
NM: Did any unanticipated challenges occur in the process? I imagine there were more nondisclosure forms than you could count.
TF: Confidentiality was certainly an important part of carrying out the decision. With the support of our partners, we were able to continue without any issues.
NM: Showing men’s and women’s collections together didn’t earn you the big headline, but even that notion is somewhat groundbreaking. Why did this appeal to you?
TF: Having the men featured alongside the women created a dynamic that brought the collection to life in a way that a traditional show wouldn’t have been able to. It made sense to show them together, as both collections would be available at the same time. This is also something that I did several times during the mid ’90s at Gucci. It presents a cohesive image of the brand.
NM: What was the first thought that went through your mind during those final moments before the first model stepped out onto the runway?
TF: I thought, “God, I hope this works!”
NM: Be honest, was it your dream to “break the internet?”
TF: No, but I do want to create a new and innovative format for showing and selling our collections to our clients. We are hoping to break through the conventional way of communicating with the consumer. In any case, it is a different way of showing the collection and trying different things is always exciting. It is important to remain excited about what one does in life!