OWN’s Tom Ford: Visionary?

July 29, 2014
Just like chips, works of erotic fiction and gin martinis, good fashion documentaries are hard to come by. We’ve seen a spate of documentaries centring on the industry, its designers, editors and it-figures emerge since the early 90s, with many garnering positive critical appraisals and awards. Although many cinephiles will deem the fashion documentary as being nothing more than a vacuous and formulaic TV fixture, several feature films documenting the rising and falling hemlines of fashion have gone some way in confounding such claims.
That said, OWN’s (that’s TV legend Oprah Winfrey’s network) documentary on fashion demi-god Tom Ford as part of its Visionaries series leaves a good deal to be desired. Of course, being an OWN production it’s going to be vomit-inducingly excessive and make full use of the melodramatic techniques at work in Oprah’s own TV chat show, it’s still no easier to stomach despite expecting the worst. The ‘poignant’ piano music and overuse of Oprah-ian (?) rhetoric of relentless positivity and inspiration is unremitting and gives the film the feel of a life-coaching session.
It is, however, informative, granting access to Ford’s v. hushed, yet much talked-about salon show from September 2010 (which marked his eagerly awaited return to womenswear), the inner workings of his London-based design studio, his general design process and, best of all, shots of Julianne Moore vamping outrageously on a runway. Also, while it’s unmissable that Ford adores the sound of his own voice, it’s difficult to deny his charm and generally engaging story of a boy who came from Texas and shot to the upper echelons of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent
I could go on but I’m still feeling festive and will spare you all pedantic observations, encouraging you to watch and review yourselves instead.

  [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/33599333 w=400&h=265]


Do feel free to leave your thoughts on this below – I’d be eager to hear what you think of what I consider to be a worthwhile, yet unforgivably queasy-making film.

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  • Last Style of Defense December 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    A little bit of Oprah dramatics and 'life stories' but an over all triumph of vision and excellence. God, I love Tom Ford…

  • Mark December 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I think Tom might finally have allowed a fly-on-the-wall documentary to made because he is so suited to the Oprah format! I have a feeling that even Oprah might cringe at parts. However, I guess he has earned the right to be particularly verbose when describing himself. We must also allow for the fact that Irish people have a particularly strong aversion to this type of TV format. Despite this, I really enjoyed it.

  • Rachel January 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    The first sentence of this post is so very fantastically written. Better composed than all of the documentary, I'm sure…!