This enormous compendium may be Ford’s swan song as a designer, as he recently announced that he was quitting fashion to direct movies. But for the last 10 years, as the creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, he took the brands in fresh directions. This huge, slipcased Festschrift checks in at 11″×14″, and covers each of the Gucci years individually, compiling product shots, ads, runway candids, snippets of Ford wisdom (“I think you have to have personality at a brandotherwise, it’s just clothes”), Gucci-sporting celebrities and commercial stills. Vogue’s Anna Wintour and Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter contribute a foreword and introduction respectively. The much-covered growth at Gucci and YSL are the real story behind the book, to the point where the press chat credits Ford with “carving out a new industry archetype: the businessman designer.” But the 375 color and b&w photos, all culled from existing fashion archives, is more of a look back at how Ford’s creations were presented (including year-by-year portraits of the photogenic Ford himself), rather than what led to their creation, how they were actually made or how they fit into the culture at large. As a 10-year time capsule of brand fashioning, the book succeeds perfectly.
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