Tom Ford S/S 09 Lookbook

Artist or celebrity? Provocateur or craftsman? Propping up dichotomies like those will get you laughed out of many an artsy social set but indeed James Joyce once naively drew a line to contrast Proper art and Improper art. Improper art is either Pornographic or Didactic. "Pornographic" art is crafted to inspire desire and "Didactic" art is of course instructive.

Tom Ford is guilty of at least being "pornographic" and at his best being "didactic". The designer and provocateur is a bit polarizing. Ford is not afraid to shock or delve into what some would call poor taste. This has lead him to be a style expatriate. "If I was ever going to become a good designer, I had to leave America. My own culture was inhibiting me. Too much style in America is tacky. It's looked down upon to be too stylish. Europeans, however, appreciate style."(NYT)

And that sense of freedom is present in this collection. The look is virile and bold. A nimble silhouette suggests the spirit of Marcello Mastrionni at play and work. The colors are rich, even decadent: plums, bronzes, and ruby red appropriate for a Medici. It may be the red, white, and blue suggest a hint of patriotism.

It may not be proper; it's too young for that. Its unlikely that Joyce would call it art at all, but will buyers care when the collection appears this cool, relaxed, and optimistic?

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