It seemed unlikely that anything Tom Ford could do at this point would shock us. After being named International Man of the Year by Russian GQ, he graced the cover fully clothed and surrounded by naked women, but that just made us roll our eyes and proclaim that it’s typical Tom Ford…what else would we expect from him? But then we see the photo on the inside cover of the magazine: him (still fully clothed, of course) next to a naked woman who is lying down with perfume fragrance strips sticking out of her derrière…
Ford is most notable for his work in the fashion industry, designing for big names such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. He also directed the critically acclaimed film A Single Man, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
In spite of these accomplishments, Tom Ford is also notorious for his controversial ads (one of which occupies the 9th spot in About-Face’s Top Ten Gallery of Offenders) and magazine covers. In 2006, he appeared fully clothed on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine with Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley who, in contrast, happened to be completely nude. It’s important to note that Tom Ford is usually the Artistic Director for most of his photo shoots. It’s his vision and his idea to portray women’s bodies the way he does in his photos.
The “perfume strips in the butt” photo truly takes the cake. What the hell? When I first saw the photo I felt a strange mix of indignation, curiosity, and disgust with a touch of anxiety. Not only is the woman in the photo portrayed as an object in the way she’s posed on the table, but the fact that Tom Ford is sniffing fragrance strips that happen to be sticking out of her butt just makes this photo perverted.
How far is Tom Ford willing to go to provoke the public? How many more women will he objectify in his photos until we put our collective feet down and say “no more”? I don’t know about you, but this photo truly put me over the edge. Though Tom Ford has made many notable accomplishments in the fashion and film industries, my respect for him is completely lost. Perhaps someday he will be able to redeem himself, but something tells me that he simply doesn’t care. Until then, he’ll be known as Tom Ford, the International Man of the Year in 2011, who sniffed fragrance strips that were sticking out of a woman’s butt.
Emily Tran is a Media Studies major at the University of San Francisco who lives and breathes media.