gucci simplifies for fall ’96

August 24, 2016 in stop look & listen by editor

Revisiting Tom Ford’s iconic white dress collection for Gucci from 1996.

This article appeared on CNN.com on July 24, 1996

From Correspondent Elsa Klensch

MILAN, Italy (CNN) — Tom Ford, a rising fashion star at the Milan House of Gucci, has taken a different tack for fall. He’s leaving retro influences behind — where he says they belong — and turning to clothes that are chic, but still sexy.

Ford is credited with the renaissance at Gucci that started several seasons ago. He says that to keep the new turn in fashion going, his clothes have to be cutting-edge, but still wearable.

This season, Ford worked on editing the collection down to outfits with easy sophistication. “I would say the most important phrase, if I could put it into a phrase, would be luxury and opulence distilled in a way to their purest line,” Ford said.

His designs translate that idea into more very simple shapes and more beautiful fabrics, “much more cleaned up, actually,” he says. “A little bit more dressed, but still modern, still with an edge, still hip — I hope. Less color, much less color. In fact, we’re showing navy, white, black, camel.”

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In fact, the fabrics Ford favors are all neutral, and contain no prints at all, very different for Gucci. He says he made the change because he felt that something became “fashion” because it was shocking. “When things stop shocking, they lose their fashion value. So I think from a fashion standpoint it’s time to move on to something a little cleaner and a little more beautiful, a little chic-er,” he said.

Although he’s limited the range of colors, fabrics run the gamut in the fall collection, including cashmere, wooled silk, woven fabrics, and even sharkskin. “Even our coatings have a much tighter weave, less pile although we have a lot of fake fur and long-haired shearling, cotton as well. We even have very soft cotton trousers, and we haven’t shown cotton in a very long time,” Ford said.

Tighter fabrics translate into more structured shapes as well. “The shoulder is a little bit smaller, has a little more of an angle to it, more constructed even though it’s longer,” he said. He also uses high platform shoes with thin heels, and gives his clothes a long and lean form.

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Ford said for the Gucci fall collection, pants are “key.” He could easily have done the collection without skirts and dresses, he says, and pared everything down to a pair of pants, a shirt and a coat.

Another big change at Gucci is a return to putting a priority on evening clothes. Ford does elegant long white dresses, which he accents with shiny silver belts. The belts hug the skin with horse-bit inspired clamps, or the company’s trademark “G” logo. The dresses themselves are made of silk jersey, a new fabric for Gucci.

Ford believes the most important accessory this season is the belt, for which he likes a lot of metal. Even the bags are trimmed in metal, he says. And as far as makeup and hairstyles go, he also aims for a simple look — hair pulled back and very smooth. Only the eye makeup is elaborate.

Images from Vogue.com / video via VideoFashion