The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Glittering goodbye to Gucci

Master showman to the end, designer Tom Ford said goodbye to Gucci in Milan on Wednesday night as a shower of pink rose petals rained down on him and a crowd of 1,500 rose for a standing ovation.

There were cheers and tears as the fashion world paid tribute to the charismatic Texan with the matinee-idol looks and the Midas touch.

Ford’s final bow at the Italian house he turned into a multi-million-dollar global byword for style, sex and status capped a collection that was a triumph of sensual cutting, electric colour and unashamed luxury.

The collection was a master class in dressing for success, revisiting Ford’s favoured hourglass silhouette.

Opening with a deceptively simple little black suit, fan-seamed to accentuate the curves, it moved rapidly into an explosion of high-voltage colour and outrageously expensive decadence.

Fox furs dripped from shoulders. Python skin and leather were married in the tightest of bomber jackets. Ribbons of silk rippled across the derriere in corset skirts, finishing at the knee in a come-hither flurry of pleats and folds. And that was just the day wear.

As the collection moved on to Ford’s preferred cocktail hour, the excitement was palpable. Blue velvet smoking jackets came with black, glitter lace trousers over bronzed flesh. Short party dresses in violet, purple, lilac and turquoise satin featured fluted chiffon sleeves and a silken fringe.

Then came the red carpet gowns — show-stoppers every one. Slivers of satin, wrapped, folded and pleated, gift-wrapped the body in acid lime, chartreuse and cobalt blue, with plunging necklines and subtle cut-outs disclosing hints of flesh. Shoulders were swathed in matching stoles of crystal-studded silk chiffon, hemmed in fox fur.

The ovation began even before the final glamour goddesses exited the stage and Ford, smiling briefly, walked slowly down the 12 pink sheepskin rugs that formed the catwalk.

“It was really sad,” said Anna Wintour, the editor of American Vogue, who has supported Ford since he became Gucci’s creative director 10 years ago. “I feel like crying.”

Exactly what Ford, 42, will do next remains a mystery.

A question mark hangs over both his successor at Gucci as well as his own future.

In less than two weeks, however, he must repeat the magic — and the emotional farewells — when he shows his final collection for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche — also owned by Gucci Group — in Paris.

Email This Page