Yesterday the New York Times published a revealing review of Tom Ford’s much ballyhooed new men’s store in New York City.
The reviewer, Horacio Silva, walked in to the store one day expecting massive amounts of attention to match the massive amounts of money that Ford wants for his designs (day shirts from $350 to $795, off-the-rack suits starting at $3,000, silk pajamas $1,900, monogram not included). The store offers a ridiculous amounts of choice, so much that shoppers almost require a steward or guide to help them find things in “unwelcoming,” “border[ing] on claustrophobic” areas of the store.
But Silva was offered no assistance, and gruffly informed by a security guard that he couldn’t go upstairs to the “appointments only” part of the store. When he made an appointment for the next day (and the staff found out that he was a Times reporter), the store and staff were welcoming and pleasant—”Champagne and smiles all around.”
Tom Ford has spoken a great deal about wanting to redefine luxury and create a truly sumptuous store. But the exclusivity he’s trying to cultivate depends upon treating everyone like a VIP. The store may drip luxury, but “Brand Ford” will suffer it doesn’t back up the luxury idea of the brand that Tom Ford has worked hard to create.