warning: may be slightly triggering in terms of racial and fat phobic talk.
Above is a photo of Tom Ford smiling (presumably through gritted teeth) with two fairly portly gentleman. They funded his movie, so I guess he had to.
Whenever the issue of plus size fashion, plus size models and fat women comes up in mainstream fashion press, there is initially some acceptance and support – but it’s always followed by a push back from the industry. In my attempts to laugh at designer’s attitudes I christen them with a LOL. There’s quite a collection now: Karl LOLerfeld. Julien MacLOLald (though he’s since seen the error of his ways, apparently). Henry HoLOLand (he also tweeted about a fashion critic who was fat, but can’t find it!). NicLOLa Formichetti is a recent recruit, saying that he did one shoot with three fat dudes and walked out, never to work with fat people again. He has since refuted that and put pictures of the fat models he’s worked with, including Scottee and Tara Lynn on his Facebook page – only it led to us seeing his actual profile, and that he’s actually one those douches that have profile pictures of ~comedy fat people~ for their friend’s amusement. What a catch!
And so, super slick, control freak, kinda misogynist ex-Gucci head Tom Ford has decided to join the club. Well, he does favour elitism and exclusivity, so it was only a matter of time, right?
This is an excerpt from his recent Time Out HK interview. Bolding mine:
I came to try on some clothes yesterday…
[Uncomfortably] And did they not fit?
I feel you’re designing for someone very slender, very tall…
I don’t agree with you, Kawai. I think I can put any dress on you and hem it to the right length and I think I can alter it and it’ll fit you.
But would it fit everybody?
Well, I have to say if we have to talk about things like this, Americans are too fat. And in London they are starting to get fat too. So I have to say that if we have to talk about race system and nationalism, I find it refreshing that everyone [who is] Chinese is slim. The only thing we changed [at Gucci] was the width of the nose bridge on eyeglasses because it won’t fit an Asian nose if it’s made for someone’s nose like mine. We changed the shoe width because, traditionally, in Asia, certain men and women have a wider foot in the front. Our buyers should be buying our shorter jackets. We made a kind of petite version, which my mother for example, 5ft 3in, or 5ft 2in, you could say she has an Asian body. Long torso, short legs and she’s 5ft 3in. She needs a kind of petite jacket. And she’s German and Irish. So I don’t know, you know?
Let’s move on. Enzo Ferrari would never sell his cars to somebody with bad taste. What does Tom Ford feel about this?
I don’t feel that way. But I do design for a specific person who appreciates… who’s probably thin, quite honestly. She takes care of herself. She understands the quality of a stitch, understands the quality of the fabric. She’s most likely urban. You know, my clothes are expensive. As I told you earlier on, I used to make jeans that cost US$50 here, and at this stage in my life, after 25 years in the fashion business, what interests me the most is the best. The best fabric, the best stitching, the best quality, and that is, by nature, expensive. It doesn’t mean I’m trying to exclude or make a social judgement about not wanting people who can’t afford my clothes to be stylish. By the way, style has nothing to do with money. And the fact that you [points at my dress] know who you are and are wearing something that’s different than anyone else in here who’s come in, even though [they are] traditionally Chinese, you’re the first person in China that I’ve seen in traditional Chinese clothes since I’ve been here. So that to me is exciting. Because you know who you are and you have your own character.
[Continuing] So what I’m doing now is more about style than fashion. So I wouldn’t say, no, I wouldn’t sell it to somebody I don’t like but because of the things that I’m designing they are targeted towards the kind of person that I would normally want to [dress].
So you’ve auto-selected your clients during the design process already…
I think one does do that when they design. You do design for a kind of ideal. The ideal comes from me, from menswear. I’m my muse. So no, you’re not gonna go in there and find elasticated waist bands and flip flops. Because I’m not that kind of person. So clearly I’m not going to sell that kind of person because we don’t have it.
First of all, i would like to say: what a prick. (haha)
In a perverse way though, his comments and observations – that all fat people are poor, and thus have no concept of luxury, tailoring or quality in all aspects of their lives, but especially in their clothing – are welcome. This is the true face, the underlying attitude, of the entire fashion industry. Certain factions may make tiny amends every now and again to generate a little more income in these difficult times but really, they have no interest in serving us no matter how many times we tell them we do have money to spend. Fashion doesn’t believe us; not only that, it believes even if we DID have the money, we don’t posses the taste to appreciate their “art”.
I don’t for a second think this has anything to do with sexuality, by the way. It’s just simple, old fashioned snobbery.