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The Design Associates

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GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | Seattle

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | New York

The Design Associates | Tokyo

The raven as the icon of black beauty, primordial intelligence, mystery and the old ones.

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.

RAVENS AS THE DARK STORYTELLER, THE MYTHIC BLACK RAINBOW. Is the etymology of corvid derived from the ancient Proto-Indo European seed sound kos, for shout? That would seem appropriate — ravens for shouting. Marketing as the shout, raven-style. But it’s the sound of the kraaak and croak that reaches to the heart of the word and the story – and running the linguistic gauntlet for several thousand years, the sounds of the black one, the ravening clan, that first bespeak the legend.

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
www.tomford.com

My daughter Madeleine pointed out the link between Tom Ford’s new 2010 Eyewear collection and the imagery of the raven — that’s a June reveal. But I’d only just discovered it. As a perpetual student of the human brand, Tom Ford, watching the insinuations of his imagination over the broad range of his brand experiences is a remarkable expanse. What I find myself struggling with — exploring and examining — is the notion of brands that are inherently lead by humans. Being a so-called “human brand” myself — having a brandstory that is inherently wrapped around me, the person — at the closest point of leadership and foundational centricity — I comprehend the challenges that it represents.

The presumption is that you know what you’re doing. Who does, that? Really? I can’t do anything without my team, of course, but having worked as the base driver for Girvin,Inc. for nearly 35 years, someone — a person — lies at the center of the brand. And you, too, lie at the center of your human brand. Lots of writing on that front, blogged and noted here.

To Tom Ford, and the raven as a stylistic emblem, the commentaries are interesting — to Tom’s shooting of “eyewear/ware” that is interplayed with corvids. Noting sensuality, Anne “of Caverville’s” reflections offer “Tom Ford’s use of ravens in his Fall 2010 ad campaign for Tom Ford Eyewear with Freja Beha Erichsen and Nicholas Hoult can be interpreted as his belief in a female-centric, new consciousness. Ford is the ace of sensual branding — or hot, sexy, sizzling marketing – whichever you prefer. The sexy marketing maestro has always pushed the envelope, roaming through the closed doors of repressed sexuality and leaving them slightly ajar upon leaving.”

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
www.tomford.com

According to Anne’s review, “If ravens seem a bit dark and disturbing, consider them not only symbols of death, degeneration and bad luck. Tom Ford grew up in Austin, Texas — not Santa Fe, of course — but near America’s Indian Country, where ravens are the hallmark of shape-shifting. Ravens can see all things that are hidden. In addition, ravens brought light into the darkness of the world and transformed part of Maka, Mother Earth. A raven named plants and taught animals. After the success of his debut film A Single Man, a more thoughtful Tom Ford may be evolving into a mythical storyteller.”

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.

Others reference: Stylefrizz “If anything, everyone can attest to the clear as daylight fact that Tom Ford likes to provoke. It’s his nature – freeze the world even for a second and obtain a reaction from the humble mortals in front of his divine work. (I’m still talking about Tom Ford, yes!)

The latest fashinternet buzz was created by Tom Ford’s eyewear campaign for the Fall Winter 2010 2011 season. Eyewear campaign that’ll cause a madness, imagine that! Only Ford can go this far! The campaign feature Freja Beha Erichsen and Nicholas Hoult plus a bunch of ravens. (the story continues right after the jump with more images!) There’s something undoubtedly, unquestionably strange about the imagery and people’s reactions. Kissing ravens? Devilishly smiling while being surrounded by ravens? Breastfeeding a raven? Now that’s something only Ford will be able to get away with. As much as they hate admitting to it, the fashpeople love to feel shocked and appalled. Disgusted, even. It’s in their uberfashionable nature. We, the mere mortals we’ll only see Hitchock all over again and think – oh, look, there’s Freja looking like Harry Potter! – say you didn’t thought about that!”

OpticalVision is more to the point, literally: “Tom Ford’s Fall Winter Eyewear Campaign features ravens- like in Tippi Hedron, Alfred Hitchcock Birds. It is way too distracting, all I can think of is Tippi Hedron running, getting even more morbid – Try Nevermore (The Raven) Getting back to the Eyewear- I can’t get beyond the Ravens, raven kissing, raven biting. So you can make your own opinions.”

Interestingly, the idea of linking ravens to fashion isn’t so new. There’s a store/window designer at Bergdorf Goodman who’s got an especial love of ravens as a merchandising icon for window dressing — they keep popping up. Still, the corvid birds as wise ones is a long-running legacy. That idea ranges from styling to actual fashion, some notations, here – shot on the fly. Ravens, crows, the class:

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
Harry Winston | NYC

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
Crow | Queen Anne Hill, Washington

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
Signage from an abandoned shopfront | Miami, Florida

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
The New York Times, NYC

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
Lou Reed | London, UK

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
34th Street, Subway exit, NYC, NY

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
Raven icons, David Hoey — Bergdorf Goodman, Window dressing 2009 | Christmas

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
Ione Rucquoi, NYC, NY.

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
Apothek with raven mascot, Old Stockholm, Sweden

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
Installation, Costume galleries, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, NY

RAVENS, TOM FORD, EYEWEAR AND BRAND MYTH: THE LEGACY OF THE CORVID IN RETAIL BRANDSTORY AND MERCHANDISING.
Ceiling installation, The Suzzallo Library, The University of Washington

Ravens — and the corvid class — are, in the mythic mind, a grouping of creatures that, spread all over the world, cast a sight into the legendary mind of man and their link to the archetypal experience of the dark mystery and beauty of natural experience. Gathering the raven clan to the notion of brand, or telling experience, is entirely personal — what does this bird say to you? To each, their own, in the cast of Raven shadow and call to themselves. For me, their call always means one thing — “pay attention.”

Tim | Coeur D’Alene | Idaho
….
GIRVIN | Raven brand stories

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