FRONT PAGE / POSTS
by Malcolm Evans| Brighton, UK
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
tags: americas, categories, consumer culture, emergence, making sense
A major international male icon at the turn of the 2010s Tom Ford represents unparalleled design and fashion flair combined with great business acumen. His personal glamour (a focus for both the male and female gaze) and critically acclaimed breakthrough from fashion and branded commercial communication into mainstream film directing with A Single Man (2010) makes him one of the most powerful and intriguing male symbols of his time.
All the more because Tom Ford a) pioneers for gay men the discrete privilege long enjoyed by heterosexual males that one’s sexuality need not necessarily be core to the definition of one’s character & identity and b) stands aside, in terms of critical intelligence and comments on public record, from an unthinking commercialism and love of consumption proverbially associated not only with his chosen métier in the fashion/luxury industry but also with the Sex And the City era’s unholy alliance of postfeminism with camp male culture (‘you go, girl’, ‘shop, shop. shop’). A 2010 US public radio interview in the link below, for example, critiques variously the vacuity of a culture in which everything has to be regarded a ‘brand’ and the excesses of a beauty industry whose ‘posthuman’ norms attempts to nurture in young women, among many other altered perceptions, a belief that breasts which are traditionally breast-shaped, rather than resembling the shape of a blown up half-grapefruit, are defective and therefore in need of being ‘fixed’ by cosmetic surgery.
As an icon of contemporary masculinity Tom Ford also signals a cultural shift from the dominance to the Alpha male image to that of a more evolved leader who incorporates positive Omega male characteristics (independence, resourcefulness, depth, a pride which can manifest itself in ways other than conventional ego gratification).
© Malcolm Evans 2010