The Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world is out and guess what: there’s only ONE fashion person on it: Tom Ford.

Guess the industry isn’t nearly as important as it thinks it is.

Except…except. It kind of depends how you define “fashion.” Many of the other electees, for example, are influential partly because of what they wear: Michelle Obama, for example; Kate Middelton; Blake Lively.

Arguably, their “influence” has as much to do with their ability to communicate via style as anything else, especially in the latter two cases (what else do we know of Ms Middleton, after all? Google her, and it’s all about her recent shopping spree and how she will wear her hair on her wedding day.)

Unfortunately, however, Time isn’t talking about why they picked the people they picked; instead, each listing is accompanied by a hagiography authored by a friend.

For example, Tom Ford is lauded by actress Rita Wilson for his manners and his tendency to wear a three-piece suit during filming, as opposed to the fact that when he relaunched his womens’ wear line he did it under the aegis of a fight against the internet-inspired fashion tide towards all-access to clothes and shows. This decision to go against the grain was presumably the reason for his inclusion in the Time list, though I’m not convinced this has sparked “dialogue and dissent and sometimes even revolution” (all that Time will say about its criteria).

The dialogue engendered by Ford’s teeny tiny shows, for example, was mostly limited to the press, and as far as I can tell, it hasn’t affected the fashion industry’s way of doing business at all, or slowed its momentum toward a digital democracy.

Indeed, I find it odd that Mr Ford is on Time’s list and Bernard Arnault is not, given the fact that in the past few months Mr Arnault has made perhaps more waves in the fashion world than anyone, between buying 20 per cent of Hermès, and firing Christian Dior designer John Galliano, who had been accused of anti-semitism. Now everyone is panting to know who will get Dior, an appointment that could set off a domino job chain among fashion houses if Arnault poaches someone else’s designer, and Arnault has re-established himself as the “wolf in cashmere.”

Dunno about you, but methinks that makes him someone who has created a lot of dialogue and dissent, and whose choices may yet lead to revolution (at Hermès, if no where else).

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