Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Tom Ford Grooming Collection: Ritual and Dollars

The upcoming Tom Ford Grooming Collection for Men (launching November 1st) is reportedly inspired by the grooming ritual that the sleek and cunning Texan designer follows himself. The video clip presents the expected toned torsos and meaningful "Blue Steel" looks by a chiseled member of the XY chromosome and is aimed at our gonads, typical for Tom Ford imagery. Tom is a fine marketeer, probably among the finest currently working in the fashion world, since everything he touches turns to gold. And that's despite his apparent lack of designer skills as evidenced during his stint at Yves Saint Laurent (a sin for which he must atone through more rigorous rituals than usual).

Tom himself goes on and on about how it's all about caring for your skin (this comes from the guy who has professed to take 3 to 5 baths a day? I'm surprised he has any skin left), that it doesn't need to be elaborate to be effective, that it shows respect to those around you (yes, dear heterosexual men who may be reading, salsa stains on your 5-day-beard-growth aren't sexy, wash already!), and it's about presenting your most handsome and impeccable self to the world.
The latter claim is actually a refreshingly honest and novel point in talking about beauty products; usually the commercials harp on how it's about what feels good to you, how it all evolves around you, how you're the center of your own universe, it's all about you, you, you, yada yada yada. But fine though the clip may be, one can't shake the impression that we're watching Patrick Bateman's morning ritual, something I had posted about before on these pages. At least I can't. There's something about it in the sleekness, the glistening skin under the caress of beautifying products, the narcissistic self admiration, the vacancy of the look through the mirror, the smooth voiceover...

Does this promo persuade me to go out and test the products? It certainly gives me pause to think whether 600$ for grooming (including lip balm, concealer and eye treatment) is accountable for my significant other and whether my bathroom shelf can withstand even more bottles, potions and lotions for the both of us. But I do like Ford's lipsticks despite the elevated price tag, so don't ask me too rigorously. Tom is a fine marketeer. He might even convince me to dabble in these in the end!


  1. Seriously, I can not stop laughing (nor blushing). I am sorry but this commercial is so homoerotic it is embarrassing (and sexy).

  2. Maria,

    I absolutely agree that it has homoerotic (and in fact objectifying) nuances and that it is both enticing and embarrassing in equal measure.
    Like I said Tom is a genius in those matters. I bet women will flock to buy these for their boyfriends. And men for their own boyfriends.

  3. Miss Heliotrope00:46

    I think admitting that it is for others is good, yet more of that "honest/non advertising" advertising aimed at exciting our jaded & cynical opinions.

    3-5 baths a day? Does he realise that water is a precious commodity? They'd try & jail you for that around here...

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. 3-5 baths a day may not sound as shocking stateside as it does in the rest of the world. 2 is very common, and people who ride a bike to work likely do 3 or 4. Not that I approve.

    Anyway, will the ad convince men to use concealers, as the model's strange attempt to do so? I hope at least it comes in different shades.

  6. MH,

    possibly the "honesty" is indeed meant to excite someone jaded. It caught my attention, that's for sure.

    The 'presenting yourself well to others as a sign of respect' has been a mantra from my father and therefore it rang a bell.

    As to the baths, I really don't know how it's even possible. He seems like a busy man. Suave though he is, I bet he hasn't seduced Master Time yet. ;-)
    Good point about the water spending. A Gallic cry rises in me (because it sounds so good): Gaspillage!!!

  7. Alex,

    I'd prefer if you didn't insert commercial links without paying a fee, if you don't mind. Agree?

  8. M,

    unless he's totally grimy every single day or living in a constant 40 Celsius climate I can't really understand the frequency!

    You know, I never understood that odd ritual I sometimes see in American films (especially older ones) where women go into the bathroom to wash and "prepare" (what exactly? inserting a diaphragm is the only justification I consider sane) BEFORE making love. I mean, doesn't this create distance from your lover, doesn't it deduct the body of the odor that your lover is supposed to want to find there, don't it kill the moment? Don't mind me, I don't really like the washing right afterwards part (like to keep the feeling of the intimacy for a little while).
    Cleansing should serve a purpose; cleansing, not atoning, nor vanity. At least this is my opinion (and I won't apologize for it, LOL), but it doesn't sell products, I guess.

  9. I was ok with the commercial up to the lipstick. In my humble opinion Mr Ford should have put it in a different delivery container, maybe a more chapstick looking tube. As for the 3-5 baths-i can't see that unless their is a medical condition that can't be cured.This commercial reminded me so much of American Giggalo at the beginning of the movie.Agree with all that perfumeshrine said in reply to M above^but i am too private to elaborate.

  10. I love the humor in this post ;) I'm a big fan of Tom Ford, ever since watching his documentary on OWN. I think that while his designs may not be the best (personal taste, I suppose), his beauty and fragrance lines are really beautiful. I love Noir and Black Orchid, and I'll be checking out this line.

  11. Well he doesn't have to sell make up to me, I gave at the door. I like that this uber masculine, hairy, square jawed glamour boy puts his make up on like a 4 year old, very endearing.
    I read somewhere that because he has so much going on in his head Tom Ford goes the the bath to meditate and focus. It's not just the bathing water though, that's 4+ complete outfits every day and imagine how much of his own make up he goes through?
    Portia xx

    1. patriciaC11:14

      Oh yes i understand the bath thing now. I also understand the stress and alot on the mind issue. Taking a theraputic bath can be quite a stress reliever and healthy too. I accually would buy this kit for my husband but he would give me the concieler and lip balm. Now wether he would use all the items, no way. So it would be a waste of coins.

  12. Anonymous17:12

    So, among the many challenges I am facing this decade, I have a 12 year old boy who is enjoying his first forays down the personal grooming aisles of our local drugstore. So far, the big decision has been which deodorant he should buy--apparently Old Spice is IN, and AXE is Out among the 12-year-old set. But it turns out that Old Spice has a number of fragrance offerings among their deodorants--who knew! Now I know. Tom Ford knew.

    Simple his proposed grooming regimen is not. But marketable? I have not doubt. Good thing Tom Ford products are not sold at our drugstore! My impressionable 12 year old would be all over it.

  13. Patricia,

    lip balm, honey, balm. Lipstick is "for the Lhadieeees" *said in my best possible Texan voice*

    Seriously the way he's applying that balm it does look like he's applying lipstick. Not that there's anything wrong about lipstick (I love Robert Smith), just not in the context of respect to how you present yourself to others.

    American Gigolo! *smacking forehead* Now, why didn't I think of that? You're right. It does recall that too (I bet the reference is this and not the BEE psycho guy in what concerns the mind of TF).

    Glad we see eye to eye on the intimacy thing. ;-) Our times have distanced us so much for other people I feel like we're putting additional hurdles for them to pass over to reach us.

  14. Gil,


    Indeed his makeup and fragrance line have real gems. I'm fascinated by TF to be honest. Such an elaborately clever man and at the same time pushing those hot buttons in fully cognizant mode making him manipulative...It's a love/hate thing.

    I should be checking these out too. My only concern is that they should be make them "unisex"; why not?

  15. Portia,

    hey girl, thanks for chiming in!

    Yeah, you make a good observation, right on. He looks classically handsome (rather than pretty pretty in a girly way) and then he applies that lip balm and concealer a certain way...I don't know. It's mock humorous, mock sexy. I'm convinced the director in Tom was super active and attentive during the shoot, these things can't be haphazard.

    And you make another excellent point which I hadn't really given any thought to: the clothes! Yup. If I were married to Tom (in an alternative universe where he's not gay and I'm living in America and present some interest to him) and we didn't have a maid I'd have gone mental. SO MANY OUTFITS TO WASH AND IRON! Criminal.

  16. Anon,


    You know Old Spice does smell good, so this is a good change! Out with the horrid Axe which has destroyed a generation with their "spray more, get more" tagline (waste more and gas everyone out in the process so you buy more bottles!!)
    I wasn't sure there were different variations in the OS deos, though I do recall they had a couple variations in the after shave: one was light blue, the other light green (that was good) and the classic white bottle of course. I need to get myself to a store and investigate.

    The only problem for your impressionable son is will he be able to afford this range by TF? It might give him the wrong ideas on how to make money.

    Good luck! Raising kids is the most important job/work in the world.

  17. Patricia,

    focusing and meditating in the bath does sound reasonable enough. Pity if one has to waste so much water and then energy (to wash so many clothes) in the process, though.

    You know, if the lip balm and concealer are as good as the regular lipsticks (so I could snitch them myself!) I might surprise mine and pick a set at some point ;-)


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