Tom Ford is one of the few marquee-name designers who has stuck by New York Fashion Week when it seems like all other brands, from Proenza Schouler to Tom Ford to Altuzarra, are fleeing to Paris. And ahead of his upcoming Spring 2018 show, the designer has unveiled his new scent effort, “Fucking Fabulous”—a fragrance he sent out with invitations to the show, slated for Sept. 6 at the Park Avenue Armory, and which he plans to debut following the show. It will be available in Tom Ford boutiques and online the following day.
The limited-edition fragrance contains notes of almond bitter oil, tonka resinoid, orris accord, cashmeran, leather accord, and clary sage oil, according to Harper’s Bazaar, but it’s the name, rather than the scent itself, that is quintessential Tom Ford. After all, Ford, like Calvin Klein, is well known for his not-safe-for-work ad campaigns, whether for Tom Ford Eyewear, the various brands he’s creative-directed (Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, his eponymous label), or, of course, his fragrances. It’s little surprise that a designer whose favorite pastimes include waxing poetic about sex and objectification should also be the master of campaign images in which perfume bottles barely cover male and female genitalia.
“I’ve been criticized for objectifying women. But I’m an equal-opportunity objectifier—I’m just as happy to objectify men,” Ford told The Guardian in 2015. “The thing is, you can’t show male nudity in our culture in the way you can show female nudity. We’re very comfortable as a culture exploiting women, but not men. But I don’t think of it as exploitation.”
But there’s no campaign imagery yet for “Fucking Fabulous,” making it one of Ford’s least-NSFW projects in a while. What’s an F-bomb compared to a Terry Richardson-lensed nude, after all? Some of Ford’s most provocative visuals have since been outpaced by labels like Eckhaus Latta, who featured models having actual sex in their Spring 2017 campaign, but he has been the subject of scrutiny for campaigns at both Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford.
When Ford was creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, a position he held from 1999 to 2004, the brand released an ad campaign for its fragrance Opium featuring model Sophie Dahl, nude, lying on a black sheet, her back arched and one hand over her breast. The ad, unsurprisingly, sparked complaints to the U.K. Advertising Authority—948 complaints, to be precise—which made it the eighth-most-cited in advertising history.
Two years later, he proved he’s a man of his “equal-opportunity objectifier” word: The 2002 campaign for Yves Saint Laurent M7 featured a fully nude male model juxtaposed against an image of the perfume bottle. (This was perfectly in keeping with the spirit of YSL’s branding; the label’s first-ever perfume, launched in 1971, also featured a male nude.)
When it comes to Ford’s eponymous label, he also has not held back in featuring nude models in his fragrance campaigns. Terry Richardson photographed the images for Tom Ford for Men in 2007—in the first, a well-oiled model holds a bottle of the fragrance between her breasts, and in another, she perches it between her legs. It drew criticism, not least because nowhere is the model's face pictured. Instead, she's reduced to a collection of sexy body parts—not to mention Richardson has been accused numerous times of sexually harassing and exploiting the models he photographs. The advertisements were banned in Italy—but not in the U.K., even though the country’s relatively strict advertising authority had taken such issue with Opium seven years prior.
Campaigns for Neroli Portofino have also featured nude models; in 2011, the campaign, starring Mariana Braga and Max Motta, depicted the two models playfully flinging oversized bottles of Neroli on each other. He followed it up three years later with a similar set of images, this time with models Josephine Skriver—best known for her work with Victoria’s Secret—and Jamie Jewitt lounging naked in a pool. (For this one, it seems, he emphasized the “Portofino” aspect of Neroli Portofino.)
Then, most recently, in 2015, he featured model Cara Delevingne—since retired to pursue her big-screen career—in a campaign for Black Orchid. Delevingne appeared nude, partially submerged in water, clutching a bottle of the perfume.
So all this could be a hint of what’s to come for “Fucking Fabulous”—but with a name like that, it might be better to keep things simple.
Getting ready for the Tom Ford show with Cindy Crawford: