Tom Ford answers my phone simply call in exactly the way I’d hoped he would: with a voice as sleek as butter and the grace of Cary Grant.
We are in touch to explore his most current undertaking, a coffee-table e-book charting the previous 15 yrs of his vocation – or “post-Gucci”, as those people familiar with luxurious trend favor to describe the period that has adopted Ford’s departure from the Italian tremendous brand.
Tom Ford 002, which spans 444 pages, features imagery by photographers these kinds of as Mert and Marcus and Inez & Vinoodh and a foreword by Anna Wintour. The listing of superstars featured reads like the lineup of a single of Ford’s trend clearly show entrance rows with Drake, Rihanna, and Jennifer Lopez amongst the headliners.
But very first, the gentleman prefers little communicate. “You’re in London? How wonderful. I pass up it,” he suggests of the city he used to phone dwelling.
Texan-born Ford speaks to me from Beverly Hills, where he has lived due to the fact decamping from the British isles in 2019. It is lunchtime where he is, and the sunshine is shining. “I do a lot of Zooms, but it is fantastic to talk like this. It usually means I didn’t have to get up and just take a shower beforehand,” he suggests. It’s reassuring to find that the male credited with reinventing sexual intercourse attractiveness is savoring a cover working day of types.
Laid again is not a phrase usually related with Ford. As a designer, he stays fiercely loyal to the breed of higher-octane glamour he made use of to change Gucci into a billion-dollar small business. His manufacturer, which spans womenswear, menswear and cosmetics, is a standing image for the tremendous-prosperous. Its scintillating ad strategies, immediately recognisable as Ford’s, are an extension of his aesthetic.
A self-confessed “hyper Virgo”, Ford has an unforgiving eye for every thing from floral displays (single-stem bunches only) to the duration of a shirt cuff. He is also fashion’s starriest designer. Catwalk demonstrates for the eponymous label he introduced in 2004 draw in a guest checklist to rival the Oscars. Julianne Moore and Rihanna are regulars. In 2013, Jay-Z named a song in his honour.
Ford is at ease amongst Hollywood’s major tier mainly because he is in it. Right after parting methods with the Gucci group, he switched from vogue to film established. Ford’s films – A Solitary Guy (2009) and Nocturnal Animals (2019) – had been nominated for Academy Awards. The two are beautiful to check out.
At home, where by he lives with his 9-calendar year-old son Jack, Ford’s lifetime has been upended. Richard Buckley, his husband or wife of 35 a long time and Jack’s other guardian, died in August. It appears to be poignant that Ford’s new guide, the consequence of significantly reflection, must show up on shelves when he is processing these reduction. “When Richard saw the book, he mentioned: ‘That’s a whole lot of drinking water below the bridge’ and turned and left the home,” Ford suggests.
A photograph of Jack is between Ford’s favorite additions to the e book. “It is the only shot I have ever produced of him publicly. He was five when it was taken, so no one particular would recognise him from it,” he suggests.
A candid Q&A with Women’s Dress in Daily’s Bridget Foley is also highlighted. In it, Ford discusses anything from exiting Gucci to remaining portion of the only gay few at the golf club and describes his son as his “number one particular focus”.
The designer also highlights the efficiency of superior flavor in the Buckley Ford family’s genes. “One time when he was five, any person at school requested what was the worst matter you could think of. Jack mentioned: “Brown sneakers with a black belt.”
Operate on the reserve meant that Ford invested lockdown sifting by way of 1000’s of pictures. “It was an exciting matter to shell out so considerably time hunting back,” he tells me, “it is not a thing I do usually.”
His reluctance to take inventory is a hangover from his days at Gucci, when there was no time to pause for reflection, a time period that led to burnout, and he experienced what he has referred to as a “mid-existence crisis”. “It’s tough to glance again when you’re regularly anticipated to make,” he suggests. “I don’t forget obtaining dinner with Karl Lagerfeld and him telling me that I’d only understand how perfectly items ended up heading in the potential the moment I experienced the chance to go back again.”
Certainly, this time of contemplation has enabled Ford to recognise how significantly items have advanced. He cites an “obsession with political correctness” as a disadvantage for this generation of fashion designers. “Cancel lifestyle inhibits style because relatively than experience absolutely free, the tendency is to begin locked into a established of regulations. Anything is now thought of appropriation. We used to be in a position to celebrate other cultures. Now you just cannot do that.”
Ford, the elected chair of the Council of Manner Designers of America and probably, the world’s chicest environmentalist, welcomes the get in touch with for the luxury globe to lessen its impact on the earth. He begun by doing his bit at dwelling. “I switched to aluminium straws, obtained rid of one-use plastic,” he states. In 2017, Ford introduced he was a vegan. “I genuinely do not have to have to meat,” he states, and credits the Netflix documentary What the Health for inspiring the transform in eating plan.
He is implementing the same state of mind to his business enterprise – Ford’s label turns more than $2bn (£1.48bn) a calendar year, when Tom Ford Beauty turns more than $1bn – spending interest to specifics this sort of as packaging and workers’ legal rights. “People are properly looked soon after,” he states.
In Ford’s head, correct luxury fashion is sustainable by its character. He tells me that he not too long ago compensated $90,000 for a dress he built through his tenure at Yves Saint Laurent to insert to his archive. “The apparel we make are not intended to be thrown away,” he says.
Ford seems to be fascinated and repulsed by the digitalisation of vogue.
“The upcoming of style is progressively cartoonish,” he claims. “Instagram has broken down the policies. Persons costume up to choose pictures of on their own to post on the internet, every little thing is exaggerated – especially the eyebrows.”
He not too long ago watched Pretend Well known, the HBO documentary about influencers, and observed the revelation that Instagram consumers were being making use of toilet seats to give the illusion of getting on a airplane “completely hysterical”.
Can we hope to see an airport selfie of him before long? “Never!” he claims. “I’m very private.”
You can count on Ford to maintain it classy.