While it’s been more than a month since Rihanna‘s Instagram account was shut down due to one exposed nipple too many, the fashion world has yet to put the incident in the past. With more than 1.2 million followers, RiRi’s couture-heavy feed represented the new frontier of celebrity social media—of which many designers, Tom Ford included, were aware.
Despite refusing to join the e-commerce and social media game until this past March, the 52-year-old designer is intimately aware of how big an impact Rihanna’s Instagram photos had on both consumers and designers. In a recent interview with Style.com, Ford even claimed Rihanna’s social media presence was one of the most powerful influencers in the industry.
"Customers don’t care any more about reviews or hard-copy publications," said Ford. They care what picture Rihanna just Instagrammed while she’s naked in bed, what new shoes she has on, how she’s talking about them. That’s what they respond to."
Now that Ford has spoken up in defense of Rihanna’s salacious account, surely it’s time for the platform to allow her back on board, right? He went on to say: "There’s no longer the hierarchy of an editor-in-chief on top who hires people with a knowledge and a history and an ability to write and disseminate that information to the rest of the population. Everyone has a voice now, so the person with the loudest voice is the one people listen to."
Despite his reputation for outfitting the sleekest players in the business, Ford’s transition to Official Cool-Kid Designer wasn’t yet solidified when he joined social media; instead, it’ll be official when he launches his new line of luxury sneakers, due out this fall. According to Women’s Wear Daily, the collection will feature both high- and low-top styles in seven colors, ranging from $690 to $990. While the goods are just for men, we have an inkling that women’s offerings will follow soon enough—if Rihanna has anything to say about it, that is.