Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford.

Ever wonder why I admire Tom Ford so much?  Let me explain why…

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. TYTOMFORD

My Story:

There was a period of time while I was growing up when I hated the fact that I am a girl.

I didn’t grow up in the same circumstances as a lot of you so, as a child, I was branded “different” for a variety of reasons:

  • My parents weren’t born in the U.S., so English wasn’t my first/only language growing up. That seemed weird to kids my age.
  • While my friends were eating processed foods and getting treated to meals at McDonald’s and Burger King, my parents were going to farms and buying FRESH meat and growing produce in our backyard. And our backyard was in the middle of the city for awhile.
  • I have a clear memory of a goatan actual live goatinvading my bedroom while I was trying to sleep and munching on my favorite blanket. If that doesn’t traumatize you as a child, NOTHING will.
  • Your lunch sandwich = turkey or BLT. My lunch sandwich = prosciutto and/or various Italian salamis.
  • Your parents garage = a place to park their car. My parents garage = a place to keep 120-gallon barrels of fermenting wine and/or cabbage.

Anyway, you get the picture. My life was just a bit different than that of my friends, so I tried to blend in with them as much as I could. As a result, my personal style was nothing out of the ordinaryI wore the same types of clothing as everyone else and did everything I could to not stand out from the crowd.

Then, one day, it happened. I hit puberty and all of a sudden, as if by magic, these two huge lumps appeared on my chest! I swear it seemed like overnight I went from completely flat to a large C Cup. No in between. They just BallOOned. And I was completely mortified!

I think most girls get excited at the prospect of wearing their first brassiere (please correct me if I am wrong, ladies). Not meI was having none of it. I already felt so “different” as a child that this sudden change was just another thing setting me apart from everyone else. While other girls were begging their mothers to take them shopping for training bras, I was begging mine not to make me wear one. I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t want to be differentI wanted to shrink into the background and hide from everyone.

So what did I do? I refused to wear a bra and instead started wearing baggy clothing. Yeah. In my mind, baggy clothing hid the “problem”even while the girls bounced around freely during gym class! (I was insane, OK?) In hindsight, I know that all I ended up doing was driving more attention to myself, but I thought I was doing the opposite.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that was when it started. That was when I first became ashamed of my body.

Eventually I came to my senses and began wearing that much-needed bra, but I never stopped feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. The girls grew larger (I was a D/DD in high school) and I still dressed to hide them. I would never wear something that drew attention to my curves and instead turned into a bit of a tomboy. This even remained true throughout high school and part of college.

It wasn’t until 1996 that I experienced a series of moments that finally allowed me to snap out of that self-loathing and not only accept, but embrace my curves.

It began with a single comment. John, my best friend and long-time crush, had known me since we were freshman in college and knew exactly what my style was. One day we were walking to class and he stopped, looked me up and down, and said “what’s up with the bodysuit?”

I don’t really remember how I ended up with said bodysuit in my wardrobeI think it had something to do with the fact that it was teal (my favorite color) and velvet (perfect material for the Fall weather). It didn’t register to me at the time that it completely showed off my curves, but it certainly registered with him! All of a sudden it was like he finally realized I was a woman. And so did I.

That moment was a turning point for me, with the final realization to come a few weeks later.

I was sitting in the library and studying for a chemistry exam. Seeing that I absolutely despised that class, it wasn’t long before I needed a break. I wandered over to the periodicals, and was surprised to find some fashion magazines in the stack. I grabbed a Vogue and (I think) Harper’s Bazaar and started to go through them.

Now, you have to understandI never looked at fashion magazines. I couldn’t have cared less about what the latest styles were or who was wearing what. It didn’t hold the slightest interest for me. Until that day.

As I flipped through the pages of Vogue, I came across these images and my world was turned upside down.

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci Ford Testino Georgina Grenville AW1996 4 Georgina Grenville for GUCCI A/W 1996, Photographer: Mario Testino

 

Many, many times a photo really does speak louder than words, and in this case, these images spoke to me. They were sexy. Alluring. Confident. Sophisticated.

They were everything I was not.

And while staring at that gorgeous dress, I suddenly realized that they were everything I wanted to be. That was where the bodysuit had come fromI had grown tired of hiding who I was but didn’t realize it. All it took to open my eyes was one commentand one dress.

I went home and completely gutted my closet, got rid of the baggiest of the clothing, and started working on finding my real style. I started working on finding me.

I think each of us has had those momentswhether it was an image we loved, a moment with a friend of relative, a celebrity whose style we gushed over, or a random stranger we passed on the streeteach of us has had a moment (or two) that inspired our love for fashion and design. These were mine.

And that, my friends, is how my love for Tom Ford and his designs began.

Today, many years later, I am still just as enthralled by the images above as I was on that fateful day in the library. So in honor of Mr. Ford, and his part in making me the fashion-lover I am today, I hope you’ll take a trip down memory lane with me and see why the Tom Ford Era at the House of GUCCI will, forever, be the era of my dreams.

 

1995

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci Ford Amber Valletta Testino FW1995 1024x698 Amber Valletta for GUCCI A/W 1995, photographer: Mario Testino

1996

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino ss1996 1 1024x706 GUCCI Ad Campaign S/S 1996, Photographer: Mario Testino

 Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino ss1996 4 1024x697 GUCCI Ad Campaign S/S 1996, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. G1 1024x709 Georgina Grenville for GUCCI A/W 1996, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci Ford Testino Georgina Grenville AW1996 2 1024x692 Georgina Grenville for GUCCI A/W 1996, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci Ford Testino Georgina Grenville AW1996 31 1024x694 Georgina Grenville for GUCCI A/W 1996, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci Ford Testino Georgina Grenville AW1996 5 Georgina Grenville for GUCCI A/W 1996, Photographer: Mario Testino

1997

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino ss1997 2 1024x719 GUCCI Ad Campaign, S/S 1997, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. 199709GucciTestinoLindvall3of4 GUCCI Ad Campaign, A/W 1997, Photographer: Mario Testino

 

1998

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. louissanchez1 Erin Cummings for GUCCI S/S 1998, Photographer: Louis Sanchis

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. louissanchez2 Erin Cummings for GUCCI S/S 1998, Photographer: Louis Sanchis

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. fw 1998 steven klein 1 Bridget Hall for GUCCI A/W 1998, Photographer: Steven Klein (image via Style Registry)

1999

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. ss1999 2 1024x724 Jacquetta Wheeler and Liisa Winkler for GUCCI Ad Campaign, S/S 1999, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci Ford Testino AW19991 1024x724 Jacquetta Wheeler for GUCCI Ad Campaign, A/W 1999, Photographer: Mario Testino

 

2000

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino ss2000 1 1024x723 GUCCI Ad Campaign, S/S 2000, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino ss2000 2 1024x726 GUCCI Ad Campaign, S/S 2000, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci FW 2000 stiloes 2 Caroline Ribeiro for GUCCI Ad Campaign, F/W 2000, Photographer: Alexei Hay (Image via Style Registry)

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci FW 2000 stiloes 4 Caroline Ribeiro for GUCCI Ad Campaign, F/W 2000, Photographer: Alexei Hay (image via Style Registry)

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci FW 2000 stiloes 12 Mini Anden for GUCCI Ad Campaign, F/W 2000, Photographer: Alexei Hay (image via Style Registry)

 

2001

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. ss2001 1 Kate Moss for GUCCI S/S 2001, Photographer: Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin (Image via Style Registry)

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. ss2001 2 1024x688 Kate Moss for GUCCI S/S 2001, Photographer: Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin (Image via Style Registry)

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. FW2001 Terry R 2 GUCCI Ad Campaign, F/W 2001, Photographer: Terry Richardson (Image via Style Registry)

 

2002

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. S2002 Terry R 2 1024x682 Rie Rasmussen for GUCCI S/S 2002, Photographer: Terry Richardson (Image via Style Registry)

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. fw2002 1 Natalia Vodianova for GUCCI Ad Campaign, A/W 2002, Photographer: Mario Testino

 Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. fw2002 2 1024x692 Natalia Vodianova for GUCCI Ad Campaign, A/W 2002, Photographer: Mario Testino

2003

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino ss2003 1 GUCCI Ad Campaign, S/S 2003, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino ss2003 2 GUCCI Ad Campaign, S/S 2003, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino ss2003 3 GUCCI Ad Campaign, S/S 2003, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino ss2003 51 GUCCI Ad Campaign, S/S 2003, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. adv 46221 1024x713

Dewi Driegen for GUCCI Ad Campaign, A/W 2003, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino AW2003 21 1024x713 Nadine Willis for GUCCI Ad Campaign, A/W 2003, Photographer: Mario Testino

 

2004

 

Although I have a special place in my heart for GUCCI A/W 1996, I will always, always, ALWAYS say that 2004 was my favorite year of the House of GUCCI. These designs are just breathtaking. Sleek. Sexy. Modern. Romantic. Tom Ford doesn’t just design for women – he celebrates them. No where is that more evident than in these, his final, GUCCI collections.

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino SS2004 11 1024x713 Hana Soukupova for GUCCI S/S 2004, Photographer: Mario Testino

 Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. gucci ford testino SS2004 4 1024x707 Hana Soukupova for GUCCI S/S 2004, Photographer: Mario Testino

 Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci Ford Testino Daria Werbowy AW2004 4 1024x692 Daria Werbowy for GUCCI A/W 2004, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci Ford Testino Daria Werbowy AW2004 3 1024x687 Daria Werbowy for GUCCI A/W 2004, Photographer: Mario Testino

 

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci Ford Testino Daria Werbowy AW2004 2 1024x691 Daria Werbowy for GUCCI A/W 2004, Photographer: Mario Testino

Getting Personal: Thank You, Tom Ford. Gucci Ford Testino Daria Werbowy AW2004 1 1024x682 Daria Werbowy for GUCCI A/W 2004, Photographer: Mario Testino

 

…and just for fun…

 

***************

Seriously, what is their NOT to love?! Pure genius.

Thank you, Mr. Ford. I owe it all mostly to you.

Now, tell me, how were you first introduced to Mr. Ford’s work?

 

Image Credits: Mario Testino, Luis Sanchis, The Style Registry, Nigel Parry and Craig McDean

This post was originally published on Beautifully Invisible.

5 comments… add one

  • Bere Parra Nov 11, 2011

    My gosh…I got teary eyed after reading this post! Your story really touched me. I wish I’d had a similar revelation during my teenage years. For me it has been a life-long process, but I can say that right now I feel a lot more confident than, say, 5 years ago. So much work to do, still…I think I fell in love with Tom Ford’s mind when Tim Blanks interviewed him on Fashion File, many years ago. I had seen the ads and found them stunning and highly effective, from a marketing standpoint (my mum’s a Marketing major so I have always had an ‘eye’ for these things hehe). When I heard him explain his concepts, his approach to women’s clothing and his vision I was hooked. I have had strong respect for him ever since, and I think I’ll continue to do so for the rest of my life. I hope I can afford one of his pieces one day!
    THANKS SO MUCH for this post B, you rock! And so does Mr. Ford!!!
    Bere Parra recently posted…True Kings – My Review of "Talihina Sky"My Profile

  • Jamillah Nov 17, 2011

    B, this for me is my most favorite thing I’ve read from you. I love that you have this really personal connection to Tom Ford and it just shows that fashion with a point of view and strong imagery can be so much more to someone than something pretty.

    Thank you times a million for sharing. This completely reminds me of yet another reason why fashion can matter so much.
    Jamillah recently posted…What I Wore-Green! Green! Green!My Profile

  • Do you know I knew a girl who had one of those dresses in the very first photo. They were fab weren’t they? And I think one could wear them just as well today as then don’t you?
    Like pretty much everyone else I didn’t think I fit in in school either, but I don’t remember a moment when I loved fashion, I don’t remember ever not being interested in fashion. Some of my first memories have to do with clothing designs and drawings. How nice to have had an “ah ha!” moment!
    Thanks for sharing. It’s a really great story.
    The Style Confessions recently posted…A passion for plaidMy Profile

  • Arash Mazinani Nov 23, 2011

    You can just tell from some of those Gucci ads that they’ve got Tom Ford behind them…they’re so provocative. It was a lovely read, I always enjoy reading more about the actual person behind the blog. It makes a nice refreshing change every now and then and especially when it’s you as you can be a bit mysterious at times… ha ha :-)
    Arash Mazinani recently posted…The Art of MinimalismMy Profile

  • JoanneP
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    Jan 18, 2013

    What a great story! I can relate to it, most of it. Trying to fit in was something I struggled since I was a little kid until senior in college. I didn’t really have a moment of change in fashion or makeup. It was the moment I decided to be myself, and it changed everything else in my life. I fell in love with Tom Ford’s work since watching the documentary film on OWN. Love the man!!
    JoanneP recently posted…Before Chanel Notorious There Was Burberry Taupe BrownMy Profile

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