Brand Addicts: Glass talks to Lucinda Harris about her Tom Ford for Gucci collection

LUCINDA Harris is the owner of the @blackwellcollection, a curated collection of 1994 to 2004 Gucci. Glass spoke to her about her collection. “I grew up in the middle of nowhere. The only access I had to the outside world was [British] Vogue.” Lucinda Harris, the owner of The Blackwell Collection, tells Glass.

“Because I went away to school, I didn’t have any local friends. The magazine was escapism for me. None of the girls from the small town I grew up in understood it.” The provincial nature of her hometown drew 13-year-old Harris to the extravagant sophistication of Gucci and its Creative Director, Tom Ford. Harris would “paint [Gucci] logos on T-shirts with fabric paint and sew labels onto scarves I found in charity shops.

“It was kind of like playing dress-up,” she admits.

Lucinda Harris and two Tom Ford for Gucci dresses

In 2007, Harris attended the University for the Creative Arts in Epsom where she met students who sported clothing she had only seen in the pages of Vogue. Yearning to “fit in”, Harris scoured second-hand outlets for designer clothes. “There was a lot of it around back then – you could buy a five-year-old Chanel jacket for 150 to 200 pounds.”

In natural succession, Harris began compiling her Gucci references and purchasing Tom Ford’s designs. The Blackwell Collection was born shortly after.

Tom Ford’s directorship at Gucci was a seminal period in fashion history. Breaking away from the company’s roots in equestrian clothing, Ford produced sensual, empowering and often controversial designs. “Tom reinvented the black dress. He did the peepholes in ‘96, he did the thong straps in SS98. He added that daring side to luxury fashion. He made sexy, enough.” With Instagram accounts tracing the late 90s and early 00s era of fashion becoming more popular, Tom Ford’s 10-year tenure at Gucci has come to the forefront once again and sparked an interest in his provocative designs. “Vintage Gucci still has the highest SEO ranking, it’s the most searched brand on Google,” she tells me. “No designer has ever been able to replicate the beauty of Tom Ford’s time at Gucci, which is why it is so sought after.”

Tom Ford for Gucci dresses in The Blackwell Collection

Collecting Tom Ford for Gucci has felt “like joining a club”, Harris tells me, “an exclusive club of people that have the same passion as you. I’ve never had that … I count some of them as my really good friends.” From sharing a love of Tom Ford to the thrill of sourcing a rare item (the famous green sequin Gucci TF AW04 gown is Harris’ most prized find), Harris’ creativity has blossomed amongst likeminded Ford aficionados.

Everything, from her handbag, to her friendships, to even her underwear is influenced by her devotion to Tom Ford for Gucci. Her fluency when talking about Ford’s collections is testimony to this. “It all depends on the kind of Gucci girl you want to be,” she continues.

“SS03 was extremely J-Lo, AW96 was very Halston, very Twiggy. Then you’ve got AW99, which was a bit Oasis superfan … If I’ve got a business interview, I’ll go AW96. If I’m meeting a friend I’ll go for SS02, and if I’m going to go to an awards evening, I might go AW04.”

Tom Ford for Gucci pieces in The Blackwell Collection

For Harris, the best thing about her work is seeing her collection worn by celebrities. “To see that there’s a mainstream interest out there at the moment in Tom Ford for Gucci and vintage as a whole is … Well, it underlines the fact that I know what I’m collecting is doing something.”

One of Harris’ most memorable moments was seeing Kim Kardashian wear the Gucci SS00 python trousers, bought from The Blackwell Collection. They made headlines after Kim wore them four times within six months. With A-list celebrities opting for vintage designer wear more and more, many consumers are buying into the circularity of second hand. According to a recent report by ThredUp, online second-hand sales of fashion goods are set to grow 69 per cent between 2019 and 2021 and luxury brands are homing in on this.

In October, Gucci announced a multi-prong partnership with The Real Real, in a bid to reach goals anticipated by their own sustainability project, Gucci Off The Grid. With the market as a whole expected to grow to £58 billion by 2025, however, this is a clever business move.

As Harris argues, buying vintage is often about exclusivity. “It’s not enough nowadays to have a nice piece of clothing and wear it. Today, the ultimate fashion statement is to have something someone else doesn’t have, and that’s vintage.”

by Lily Rimmer