Fashion designer and icon Tom Ford had people at the Santa Fe Indian Market’s Native American Clothing Contest thrilled by his presence. The designer took a spot on the judges’ panel for the contest after being persuaded by Richard Buckley, fashion journalist and Ford’s partner for the past 25 years – but Tom says he won’t need persuasion to continue his post at the contest any longer.
“Yes, it’s true, Richard did persuade me to be a judge this year, but he won’t ever have to persuade me again. I’ll be happy to come back whenever they want me.”
The contest was the brainchild of Buckley, who has sponsored the event for the past four years and who is a member of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA). He said, “The important thing is to encourage Native American culture and all the arts. The clothing competition is my baby, and I wanted to share it with Tom. We’ve always made a good team.”
When the illustrious fashion name was asked whether the design elements reached his expectations, he responded enthusiastically, “Oh, yes! Good things are always good things and stand out. Good, creative design strikes a chord with people. Color, composition and creativity all are essential to good design, but perhaps it’s the things you can’t see but feel — the energy and effort put into each piece of clothing — that creates a winning style. Such energy and effort are projected onto the design through the belief of the designer.”
Ford added, “This is true whether we’re talking about traditional or contemporary design. What I found exceptional in the contemporary competition was that designers were faithful to traditional Native American elements and yet presented them with a new, fresh perspective.”
Ford issued the prestigious Female Best in Show title to 1-year-old Persephone Maybee, who wore a creation that was done head-to-toe by her father. “This was a family affair,” Ford noted. “You could see the shared vision. I was quite taken with both outfits. This is what keeps me coming back.”
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