Earlier in the month, I stumbled upon an upload of a documentary (on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network alas), of the designer/filmmaker and all round creative bod Tom Ford. I’ve always been impressed with Ford’s visual sensibilities. From the first bold Tom Ford ads (a barn storming collaboration with Terry Richardson), to the exquisite detailing and storytelling on display in ‘A Single Man’.
In this documentary (the opening titles are visual travesty I might add), we see Ford explain his methodology, we get a bit about his backstory, and the whole the story of his meteoric rise within the hallowed halls of Gucci and Dior.
But this gets really interesting when the doc digs into his creative perspective. What drives him, and also, crucially, that he doesn’t just see himself as a fashion designer. Ford understands that creativity as a skill, is universal. As he puts it:
“The clues for everything that’s going to come next are here now. And either you’re a sleuth and you’re thinking about it cerebrally or you feel it. There are no right or wrong answers – it’s intuitive”
With that sentiment, Ford nails what a creative should be about. Seeking experiences and stimuli, but also not just chasing a trend, or a fad. It’s that intuition which makes creating stuff so… good. Think about it, when you’re designing, art directing, directing, drawing or even strategising, there is a moment where the feel is right. You don’t need to over-explain, or over justify. It just feels right. This makes creativity something that really can’t be taught. It’s in the bloodstream. It’s gives you the strength of your convictions and belief in what you want to tell to the world.
It also helps you keep a clear course, when others haven’t seen, or disagree with your view. His aesthetic, his point of view, his perfectionism cross creative boundaries. But they are all bound by intuition. Which is really why watching this doesn’t just feel like a throwaway bit fashion fluff. This is a true craftsman at work.
The lovely Camilla wrote a post about this same doc. I would say she was copying my thinking, but that would be rude ;). Her words are much more jazzy than mine, (‘rock-hard Branding’, brilliant) and brilliantly bring to life whay Tom Ford’s Brand is so seriously on target. (Desire and attention to detail). But you should take the two blogposts combined might as a clear signal that this video is well worth your time.
You can read her post here.