Tom Ford’s Gucci 2003 Semiotic Analysis


Kimono on Runway of Spring/Summer 2003 show

The advertisement that I have decided to do an analysis of  is one of the campaigns which Tom Ford and Mario Testino created when Ford joined Gucci in the 2003. What made the advertisements more shocking was that Ford was relatively unheard of at the time and therefore people were not used to his work. The advertisement was banned internationally for its fetishism and the sexualisation of the brand, however this could be seen as a positive for the brand because it was being talked about all over the world in news outlets and on social media meaning that a larger amount of people are likely to have seen the image. The model Carmen Cass has her pubic hair shaved into a G for Gucci.

Reichert would say “the use of sexual appeals in advertising has become the norm for such products as cosmetics, fashion accessories, and perfume and any number of other women’s magazines replete with sexually charged advertisements” (Reichert, T, 2011) and therefore it could be seen as a surprise that this advertisement faced such high cristism. However it also could be said that the  nature of the advertisement cannot be told, as the model is against the wall it could be considered rape as just her body being in shot does not reveal anything else.

The image in the advertisement focuses connotations of Asian influences with the embroidery and the prints. The model against the wall is also wearing a kimono featuring and oriental print, both from the 2003 Spring/Summer Ready-To-Wear collection. (ELLE, 2012) From researching into oriental kimono’s which are produced and worn in Japan, mainly now for special occasion wear. I can see many similarities both in shape and print.(Nomura, Shojiro; Ema, Tsutomu, 2006) However no sash has been used to secure the garment so it does not follow true Japanese culture.

Even in the runway show the models showed a lot of skin in a seductive nightwear coverup way, this could signify one of the ways that Tom Ford reinstated the reputation of the brand which Guccio Gucci had worked so hard for in the early days of the Gucci legacy (GAY FORDEN, S, 2000). This is because once again the brand was discussed and was desired by women worldwide who wanted to show off their sexiness.The silk used for the kimono and also on the bomber jacket is also a material which signifies was used a lot in the 1990s and early 2000’s due to the New Romantic Fashion craze.

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 22.04.20.png
Current Gucci Jacket featured on Vogue Online Article.

The model is the kimono is showing femininity with the heels, however it  could be noted that the other model is portraying a much more masculine appearance with the baggy trousers, bomber jacket and also the haircut. The bomber jacket worn can be seen as similar to those sold by the company now with the satin material and the embroidered back.

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Gucci S/S 2016


One similar is published in a current Vogue article called “Best Bomber Jackets to Buy Now”.(PITHERS, E, 2016) When looking on the fashion journal; Collezioni’s article about the Spring 2016 Gucci show I found that there are many different prints similar to the one on the kimono. (Callezoni, 2016)


PITHERS, E. (2016)10 Best Bomber Jackets: Buy Now [Online] Vogue Online, Available at:

(2012) Runway of Spring/Summer 2003 show[Online] ELLE Online, Available at:

Nomura, Shojiro; Ema, Tsutomu (2006)Japanese kimono designs. New York, USA .: Dover.

Reichert, T (2011) The naked truth: revealing the affinity for graphic sexual appeals in advertising. Journal of advertising research Volume: 51 Issue: 2


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