Patience in one minute of anger can prevent one hundred days of sorrow.
--Chinese Proverb



Why are we so frightened of what is?
What is the good of running away if whatever we are is always there?




If you don't have enough to eat, work on getting enough to eat.
If you can't keep warm in winter, work on getting sufficient clothing.
If you don't have time to enjoy yourself, work toward getting leisure time.
But when you have enough, you should stop.

--The Book of Lieh Tzu


Tom Ford

Thomas Ford (born August 27, 1961) is an American fashion designer. He gained international fame for his turnaround of the Gucci fashion house and the creation of the Tom Ford label.

Tom Ford was born in Austin, Texas, but spent most of his childhood in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During his teens, Ford moved to New York and enrolled at New York University, initially attending courses in art history.Ford dropped out of N.Y.U. after only a year, preferring to concentrate on acting in television commercials; at one time, he was in twelve national advertising campaigns simultaneously. He later redirected his studies to concentrate on architecture at Parsons School of Design in New York and Paris.

During his time in New York, Ford became a fixture at the legendary nightclub Studio 54, where he realized he was gay. The club's disco-era glamor would be a major influence on his later designs. Before his last year at Parsons, Ford spent six months in Paris, where he worked as an intern in Chloé's press office. Though his work primarily involved sending clothes out on photo shoots, it triggered his love of fashion. He spent his final year at Parsons studying fashion, but nonetheless graduated with a degree in architecture.

When interviewing for jobs after graduation, he said that he had attended Parsons but concealed that he graduated in architecture and that his work at Chloe was a low-level public relations position. Despite his lack of experience, Ford called American designer Cathy Hardwick every day for a month in hopes of securing a job at her midprice sportswear company. Eventually, she agreed to see him. Hardwick later recalled the incident: "I had every intention of giving him no hope. I asked him who his favorite European designers were. He said, 'Armani and Chanel.' Months later I asked him why he said that, and he said, 'Because you were wearing something Armani'. Is it any wonder he got the job?" Ford worked as a design assistant for Hardwick for two years.

In 1988, Ford moved to Perry Ellis, where he knew both Robert McDonald, the company's president, and Marc Jacobs, its designer, socially. He stayed at the company for two years, but grew tired of working in American fashion. In a later interview with the New York Times, he commented, "If I was ever going to become a good designer, I had to leave America. My own culture was inhibiting me. Too much style in America is tacky. It's looked down upon...Europeans, however, appreciate style."

Ford would soon have the opportunity to enter the world of European fashion: Gucci, a faltering luxury goods company, was seeking to strengthen its women's ready-to-wear presence as a part of its brand overhaul. At the time, "no one would dream of wearing Gucci," said Dawn Mello, then the company's Creative Director. Mello hired Ford—then a near-unknown—as the brand's chief Womenswear Designer in 1990. "I was talking to a lot of people, and most didn't want the job," Mello said. "For an American designer to move to Italy to join a company that was far from being a brand would have been pretty risky." Ford and his longtime partner, fashion journalist Richard Buckley, relocated to Milan that September.

Ford's role at Gucci rapidly expanded: he was designing menswear within six months, and shoes soon after that. When Richard Lambertson left as Design Director in 1992, Ford took over his position, heading the brand's ready-to-wear, fragrances, image, advertising, and store design. In 1993, when he was in charge of designing eleven product lines, Ford worked eighteen-hour days. During these years, there were creative tensions between Ford and Maurizio Gucci, the company's chairman and 50% owner. According to Mello, "Maurizio always wanted everything to be round and brown, and Tom wanted to make it square and black." Though Maurizio Gucci wanted to fire Ford, Domenico de Sole insisted that he remain. Nonetheless, Ford's work during the early 1990s was primarily behind the scenes; his contributions to Gucci were overshadowed by those of Mello, who was the company's public face.

Gucci__Spring 00

Gucci__Fall 00

In 1994, Ford was promoted to Creative Director. He was responsible for the design of all product lines, from clothing to perfumes, and for the Group's corporate image, advertising campaigns and store design.
In his first year at the helm, he was credited with putting the glamor back into fashion introducing Halston-style velvet hipsters, skinny satin shirts and car-finish metallic patent boots. In 1995, he brought in French stylist Carine Roitfeld and photographer Mario Testino to create a series of new, modern ad campaigns for the company. Between 1995 and 1996, sales at Gucci increased by 90%.

By 1999, the house, which had been almost bankrupt when Ford joined, was valued at about $4.3 billion.

When Gucci acquired the house of Yves Saint-Laurent, Ford was named the Creative Director of that label as well. During his time as Creative Director for YSL, Ford won numerous Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards. Like his work at Gucci, Ford was able to catapult the classic fashion house back into the mainstream.

His advertising campaigns for the YSL fragrances Opium (with a red-haired Sophie Dahl completely naked wearing only a necklace and stiletto heels in a sexually suggestive pose) and YSL M7 (with martial arts champion Samuel de Cubber in complete full-frontal nudity) have been famous and provocative by pushing fragrance ads to a new level of creativity in artistic expression and commercial impact.

Fall 2001

M7 by YSL__2002__photog: Sølve Sundsbø

In July 2002, Ford was made Vice Chairman of the Management Board of Gucci Group.

During Ford's 10 years as Creative Director at Gucci and Gucci Group, sales increased from 230 million dollars in 1994 to almost 3 billion dollars in 2003, making Gucci one of the most profitable luxury brands in the world.

In April 2004, Ford resigned from his post at Gucci Group following a buyout by Pinault Printemps Redoute; he and CEO Domenico de Sole, who is credited as Ford's partner in the success story that is Gucci, disagreed with PPR bosses over creative control of the Group.

Gucci__Fall 04 RTW

Gucci Fall 2004 Ready-to-Wear
The emotional ending of the Tom Ford era at Gucci was a look back in glamour—a fabulous farewell in which this perfection-obsessed superstar of fashion seized the moment to run his eye over everything he has achieved for the brand, and then do it better. There is no doubt who the Gucci woman is: the embodiment of sexual confidence, burnished to a high gloss and bursting with predatory power. A symbolic figure of the past decade's hedonistic highs, she spike-heeled her way down a runway carpeted with pink fur, luxuriating in Ford's aesthetic one last time.

And it has become elaborate of late. Even when he cuts a mean-looking black skirtsuit, it will be fanatically worked to the body, ruched to the ribs, and pieced in multiple complex slivers to grip the derriere. So too with the jackets, which have become ultra-decadent amalgams of dyed fox, croc, and suede, cut to emphasize a big shoulder and clinch the torso in bursts of sunray patchwork.

The buildup began as Ford took his audience through a knowing, celebratory series of flashbacks. There were the blue velvet jackets of his first 1995 hit, paired with nude beaded pants from a later blockbuster. A new manifestation of the 1999 sellout white coat with a knotted leather belt, its glamour amped to overload with an entire white fox snaking the shoulders. Variations on the crystal-sprinkled flesh-colored goddess gown famously worn by Nicole Kidman at the Met, even more beautifully realized than the original.

Ford outdid himself as well with event-making eveningwear. There were slithering sequined mermaid gowns, the ultimate done in a fantastically evil shade of green and wrapped in an arrogant fox-and-chiffon stole. But the emotional crescendo came from the white cutout jersey dresses that closed the show. A reprise of Ford's favorite collection of fall '96, they came more softly draped and subtly constructed than the originals. He bestowed the best on Georgina Grenville, making a nostalgic comeback appearance in her role as the ultimate high-nineties Gucci model. She looked overwhelmed at the thunderous applause that accompanied her final walk, the perfect signoff to the extraordinary drama of Ford's years at Gucci.

Collectible Gucci
As Tom Ford leaves the house where he made his name, smart buyers are hoarding his ready-to-wear designs. Some will climb right into them; others will squirrel them away for future profit. What makes a Ford as tradable as a Hirst?

Tom Ford__New York City

Tom Ford__Milan

Following his departure from Gucci (and YSL), Ford opened the fashion house, Tom Ford. Ford began with accessories; his line of eyewear was the first to become successful through a continuing partnership with Marcolin SPA. The Tom Ford line now covers Menswear, Beauty, Eyewear, and both Men and Women's Accessories. In 2006, he also established a fragrance line called Tom Ford Beauty. In early 2006, Ford attracted media attention for appearing fully clothed on the cover of Vanity Fair alongside Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson, both nude.

Ford's first 'Tom Ford' flagship store opened on April 12, 2007 on New York City's Madison Avenue. In June 2007, Tom Ford International announced a targeted global expansion starting in four directly operated stores that are slated to open over the next three years in Milan, London, Los Angeles and Hawaii. In addition, Tom Ford announced agreements with key dranchise partners that will allow for a focused and select expansion schedule beginning Spring 2008 for key cities in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East.
In Spring 2008, Ford opened his first boutique outside of the United States in Zurich, Switzerland located at Munsterhof 17. In September 2008 Ford opened a boutique in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the Harry Rosen store on Bloor street.
The resulting overall plan will create more than 100 free standing Tom Ford retail stores worldwide over the next 10 years as well as a tightly controlled distribution network of shops in shops with luxury retail partners.
[Wikipedia / Tom Ford]

International Male
For such a famous guy, Tom Ford has managed to keep his personal life remarkably private. Over the past decade, the public saw photographs of his well-known face and his even better-known designs for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent everywhere. But while other fashion designers seemed only too willing to show off their lifestyles and invite the press to virtually move into their homes, Ford kept his stylish doors closed (even to most friends). "My houses are for me and for Richard and Angus," says Ford, referring, respectively, to his longtime companion, magazine editor Richard Buckley, and their beloved fox terrier. Then again, there's nothing like a major life change to make you rethink your rules. Ford, of course, has left the world of fashion for a prospective career in Hollywood. And this month, he finally drops the drawbridge on his domestic life with the publication of Tom Ford (Rizzoli), a lush 416-page photographic retrospective of Ford's now legendary 10 years at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Included in the book are the collections, the advertising campaigns and…the houses: his modernist Richard Neutra villa in Los Angeles, his Victorian town house in London and his ranch house in Santa Fe, New Mexico. [...]

The juxtaposition of the houses and stores in Ford's book allows readers to glimpse his "cross-pollination of ideas," as he puts it. There is also no better example of Ford's genius at branding. "All my houses look the same," he says. "I have a very specific set of tastes. I like certain colors, or, rather, lack of. I don't like clutter. I'm very linear. I occasionally like curves, but it has to be the right curve—a very organic curve, and it's usually juxtaposed against something very straight."

Ford's far-flung bedrooms are particularly uniform. Uniformly black, to be precise. Whether it's Los Angeles, London or Santa Fe, he sleeps in black cotton-satin Gucci sheets, beneath black fur throws, surrounded by black lacquer tables and black glass walls. "I am a complete insomniac and if there is a shred of light, I can't sleep," he says. (All that black isn't quite as dark as it sounds, however: "The glass is quite reflective," notes Ford.) [...]

Though Ford acknowledges that minimalism can end up "dry and fairly routine," he says that it can also be sensual and warm. To compensate for the strict stuff, he has two decorating dictates: "You need fire and you need fur." To that end, almost every room in the Neutra house has a fireplace and skins in abundance. [...]

Ford spent most of the summer in Santa Fe either planning the construction or working on his book. The former designer says he enjoyed the opportunity to both reflect on the past and move on. "Going over it all was a great way to close a chapter in my life. And I wanted to do it now while it was fresh."

The editing process took months. "With this book, the sheer volume of images was just incredible," he says. "One year alone we had 12,456 pages of coverage. I had to go through all those images. The whole thing was very emotional. Usually, I'm not a person who dwells on the past. I say, okay, that's done, let's move on. But reliving it all, it all comes back to you - the amount of work, the struggles. But it was a nice way to say goodbye to it." After a short pause, Ford offers a bit of a tease: "I don't know whether it's goodbye forever. But I know it's goodbye for now."

At the moment of course, it's hello, Hollywood. Now that Los Angeles has become his primary residence, Ford is somewhat begrudgingly building a guest house on the property. (Heretofore there hadn't even been a guest room.) Indeed, even invitations to dinner chez Ford are rare. "We have occasional small dinners, but I'm not big on having people in my houses," he says. Ford makes one exception annually, however, when he gives an Oscar week party for a few hundred.[...]

Lest anybody think someone from the garment biz would be way out of his depth in Hollywood, he notes that the fashion business is, in some ways, bigger than the film industry. Gucci, for example, had almost $3 billion in annual sales last year - more than any studio unit.

"I'm confident that my first film will be made - soon, I hope," says Ford. "If it's a hit, I'll have a career. If it's not...at least I'll have done it."

W__2005__photog: Steven Klein

Tom Ford shows off his signature glamour, decadence and flash on a foray into the forbidden zone

W: How is life with Estée Lauder?
TF: Before we go any further, can we just clarify my relationship with Estée Lauder? I don't know why it's so hard to understand, but no one's getting it right. I signed a deal with Lauder to produce and distribute the Tom Ford fragrance and cosmetics collection, which launches in fall 2006. Since it takes 18 months to create a brand from scratch, in the meantime the Lauders asked me to do two small limited-edition collections. The first is Youth Dew Amber Nude. The original Youth Dew was maybe a little bit heavy for today's taste, so the first thing I did was reduce the concentration to make it more modern. The second project is the Azurée collection, which launches next spring.

W: These pictures make an interesting beauty debut, to say the least.
TF: I like to put things in social context. When we [Ford, photographer Steven Klein and W Creative Director Dennis Freedman] met to discuss this shoot, we talked about how certain things are so ingrained in our society. Like, for example, we live in a hairless society. There was a moment in time when if you were watching porn, or saw just any model or actor or man, there was hair—Burt Reynolds, for example, stretched out naked totally covered in hair. Men had mustaches. Men had chest hair. In today's world, all the guys are shaved, although gay men are going back to hair. We're living also in a very plastic moment where everything is manufactured and pumped up. If you look at SUVs, they look like station wagons that have been inflated. Breasts today look pumped up. Lips are pumped up. Butts are pumped up. What's happening culturally carries over onto the human form, and at the moment they're busty and big and pumped up.

W: Not all those little tabloid actresses.
TF: That's the opposite of it. One of the reasons we're so obsessed with thinness is that we've never been fatter. We're also living in a culture of extremes, with no middle ground. People are either purging or they're bingeing. So through these pictures I wanted to touch upon things like that.… I've always been about pansexuality. Whether I'm sleeping with girls or not at this point in my life, the clothes have often been androgynous, which is very much my standard of beauty.

W: So these pictures capture how you see today's world of beauty?
TF: We've become plastic, objectifying the human body. We're no longer animals. Women and men are so waxed and polished and buffed and shined up and manipulated. We don't age. We've got these weird lips that don't really look like lips. We've started to lose touch with what a real breast looks like; we've started to lose the animal side of our nature. It's time to somehow pull it back to something more human. We treat women almost like cars. It's happened over the last 25 years. When we were kids, it was lift and separate. Now, of course, Victoria's Secret pushes it all together.

W: You've always said that looking good requires work—polish and a certain fakeness.
TF: But I've also always talked about why the Seventies were such an important moment to me—because there was a relaxed quality; bodies looked real. I think it had to do with the fact that back then you really could have sex. We used to watch sitcoms where people had one-night stands all the time, and we grew up thinking that that was okay. Today we have a more perverse look at sexuality, but stylized and almost fake. If you watch a porn film today versus a porn film from the Seventies, there's something much sexier about the Seventies film because it's more natural. Today it's so stylized, sort of cartoonlike. But we're in a cartoonlike moment. I mean, think of Angelina Jolie's face. It looks like Lara Croft. She is exaggerated. Her lips are exaggerated. Our beauty standard today is cartoonlike, and it's artificial. So the idea of all these dolls [in the shoot], we're living in a world where there are humans who actually are just dolls. And the boys, are they dolls or are they human? They are in fact human, yet there are three of them so they're all the same and they look like dolls. The fact is that men are moving toward the same plastic beauty. And it's about me living in this world.

W: As someone entering the beauty arena, isn't this dangerous turf? You depict a frightening image of women, created in part by the beauty industry.
TF: I'm not criticizing. I'm just trying to make a comment to let people see where we are. Sometimes it's hard for us to see our own world. There's a surreal quality to a lot of things, just go to a dinner party and see a lot of 60-year-old women all stretched and pulled. There's real manipulation going on. Sometimes you have to exaggerate these things in order to make the point. So that was really the point of the photo shoot, not necessarily to say it's right or wrong or good or bad or we should do it or we shouldn't do it. But trying to show where we are.

W: These pictures look futuristic-creepy—not a celebration of beauty.
TF: We are futuristic; we're on the cusp of being able to manipulate humans genetically to grow into whatever we think looks good. The moment we can start manipulating genes, how long are our legs going to get? Beauty used to be all about cream and lotions, and now it's not. It's about Botox. It's about fillers. It's about mini facelifts. We've reached a level of manipulation. And then of course I'm portrayed as the one doing the manipulating…the polishing, buffing, shaping, which is what I do. It's just what we do. What the fashion industry does.

W: But as someone making a foray into the mainstream beauty arena with a very mainstream company, how do you think this vision will be perceived?
TF: First of all, we can get carried away worrying about the mainstream. Five years ago the mainstream was watching Sex and the City. It's HBO today, with nudity and profanity every other word. The word f--- is part of normal parlance at almost every level of society. I think we're in a weird spot in this country, where we think that mainstream means being dull and flat. But everyone in this country has access to the Internet. Everyone has access to porn and watches it, by the way. So I don't get this mainstream thing. And Estée Lauder was at one point very, very innovative. Estée herself was a very innovative woman.
I don't believe in pandering to the public. I've always tried to be very open about everything. Open about my personal life. Open about my sexuality. At Gucci we were about mass luxury, but I shaved a "G" into a girl's pubic hair.

W: In fashion you're selling an image, but at the end of the day, that dress is very understandable: I like it. I don't. It will flatter me. It won't. Therefore, isn't image even more important in beauty than in fashion?
TF: This wasn't meant to be a shoot about beauty in a commercial sense: Look at the Amber Nude image, blah, blah, blah, which is rockin' for Estée Lauder. I've always thought that fashion has another meaning, because there are always sociological things happening that are pushing you to move in a certain way. The broader picture is more interesting.

W: Where would you like to see us go?
TF: I'd like to see something more natural. I'm all for Botox, collagen, cosmetic surgery. But I've been wondering, Why can we send a man to the moon but we can't make a breast look real? Then I encountered a girl the other day who had implants that really looked natural. She had nursed and her breasts changed, so she had it done, and her breasts looked just so amazing and so real. I'm all for manipulation to a certain extent, but I think it's very important not to deny the fact that we are animals. We need to look human.

W: With so much possible, do we become so fascinated by process that we overlook the result of too stretched, too busty, too everything?
TF: We're also insecure. You hear about something new you can do to yourself and you think, oh God, I need that. Insecurity was introduced by deodorant. We grew up watching all these deodorant commercials. This girl sweats, and, oh my God, it ruins her interview, and her whole life falls apart. She's got to have her antiperspirant. Now she doesn't sweat. Her life is great, and blah, blah, blah. It happens with each new thing that is available—I need a polish, a buff. It turns people into cars. I love cars, but I don't want to f--- my car.

W: So how are you going to fight the plasticized status quo through the Tom Ford beauty business?
TF: Just what I'm talking about. Images and products that help you look beautiful and polished, but not too polished. Look at the Amber Nude photo of Carolyn Murphy. I wanted to use the Estée Lauder woman, but I wanted to change her a bit. She looked very uptight. She looked very retouched. I'm just saying that there are times in your life when you should look a little more sensual.

W: More sensual than when you're appearing in an Estée Lauder ad?
TF: Well, those pictures can look a lot like a mom. I wanted to show a different side. She's got a bit more shine to her skin and she's not so matte. She is a little more human-looking.

W: You keep going back to the notion of real.
TF: Thousands and thousands of years of evolution have gone into making us attractive to each other and not to machines. We have to be careful that we don't start to look like machines and like we're made of plastic—even though I'm in bed with two plastic girls.

W: And how did you like them?
TF: They start to take on a certain presence. I think we were fascinated for the first 20 minutes but then…they weigh a ton and to drag one of those girls around took four people. Of course, they're made for sex. I think if you left that doll alone in a room with a different man for an hour, every man would have sex with it once. But I don't think they'd go back.

W: Let's talk about getting naked. Why did you do it?
TF: A couple of reasons. One is that I've had a little criticism for objectifying women and always taking their clothes off. I thought, Well, why shouldn't I take my clothes off? It seemed to make absolute sense. There I am, living in this world with dolls all day long, bathing and polishing and shining them up, and kind of looking like I'm in love with them. Well, of course I'm going to sleep with them. So A, it made sense for the story; B, I've never been freaked out or weird about sex.

W: You look pretty terrific—even unretouched.
TF: My butt is naturally hairless, by the way.

W: For the record?
TF: For the record.

W: And you have long maintained that everybody looks better naked. Yourself included?
TF: What I mean is that you can go to the gym and see a guy in the shower and think, Wow, great, I'd love to talk to him. Then he goes and sits down on a bench and puts on frightening shoes, a silver thumb ring and a bad suit. Being naked is the great equalizer; there are just less ways to screw up.

W: Do you fear anything?
TF: I fear a lot of things, but I don't fear this. There's an artistic side to fashion, and it should challenge. [Otherwise], everything will die.

W: That's the big picture. In a smaller picture, someone is funding your new venture, writing checks for X, Y and Z.
TF: If someone says to me, "Your contract is terminated," I'd say, "Fine, I don't care. It's not going to change my life." Of course, I'm in a wonderful position—that f--- you money that you always hear about. I believe in this. I'm not going to change who I am. You have to be true to whatever you are. As long as you're authentic, even if you're President Bush saying your thing, you're authentic being President Bush.


Out Magazine
For years sex and Tom Ford have been synonymous, a combination of his blistering good looks, his notorious ad campaigns (his latest shows his new fragrance nestling in a woman’s shaved crotch), and the nonchalant ease with which he addresses it. “Sex is just second nature with me,” he explains. “It’s not like an obsession or anything.”

Maybe not an obsession, but definitely a guiding principle. He recalls strolling along the beach in St. Barts stark naked early in his career and sailing right past Vogue editor Anna Wintour. “I said, ‘Hey Anna,’ and then thought, Hmm, maybe I ought to start putting on my clothes." That was about the time his star was beginning to rise, and although he doesn’t do nude beaches any more (“As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized a tan line makes your butt look higher”) he clearly loves the human body, just not in a Diane Arbus kind of way. For Ford, the body is a canvas on which to project a fantasy: his. This can be disconcerting. You imagine that when he looks at you he is seeing not who you are, but who you could be, given the right nips and tucks. [...]

These days he’s grown bolder, willing to take bets on artists of his generation, but then it’s his generation that is now in the driving seat. At 46, Tom Ford is no longer using older, more established names—Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci -- to help make his own. Having opened a luxury menswear store on New York’s Madison Avenue earlier this year, he plans a rapid expansion, with 14 more outlets around the world scheduled to begin opening in 2008. Does flying solo, after so many years as a copilot, give him sleepless nights? Of course, he says -- but not that many. “I think sometimes I look so pulled together people think things are effortless for me, and they’re not,” he says. “I spend an enormous amount of energy and time thinking and worrying about all these things so they can appear effortless. It’s a constant fight to stay on top or get back on top, and I like to win, and I like to be successful, which is why I like the boxing motif for this story. Every day you go to work is a fight, and you have to be ready for it.”

For a fighter, he has impeccable control. He says a lot during our interview, but only as much as you feel he wants to give, mindful of how his words will read in print, or whether they’ll come back to haunt him. He likes to differentiate between Tom Ford “the product” and Tom Ford “the human,” about whom he says, “I’m extremely private.” His 20-year-plus relationship with former Vogue Hommes International editor Richard Buckley, 14 years his senior, suggests that his playboy demeanor is strictly for show. When he talks about their life together, it sounds as domestic and cozy as an episode of The Honeymooners: “He’s my family now -- it’s different than it was when we first met, and why would I throw that away?” They’ve even designed sarcophagi in which to be buried “because we’re all going to die, so why not have fun with that? Why just be in a dull casket when you can be in a fabulous rosewood-and-granite sarcophagus in the middle of New Mexico?” Why, indeed.

Although not afraid of death -- “I can totally imagine the world without me; I’m so unimportant” -- Ford thinks a lot about the futility of life. He recently emerged from a midlife crisis that engulfed him on his 40th birthday. “All of a sudden I realized that 40 years had gone by and I had everything that I ever wanted, and yet I wasn’t completely, deeply inside, happy or satisfied. It was like, Is that all there is? I had success early, and I had someone I loved already in my life, and dogs and family and houses and things, and yet I felt a little empty and I’ve just recently come out of that. It’s a process. There’s a great quote comparing midlife to reaching the top of the ladder only to realize that you’ve had it against the wrong wall. It wasn’t so much about changing my outer life; it was a question of changing my inner life and living in the present.”

He concedes that in the wake of leaving Gucci he floundered for a new purpose, anxious that his old friends would melt away and that he’d be seen as yesterday’s man. “My life had been Gucci, and Gucci had been my life. I was working 24 hours a day right to the last day, and then -- boom -- my calendar was blank, like, forever, and I thought, What the fuck am I going to do? What the fuck am I going to do? It was a very hard transition.” Though he’d never imagined himself doing his own thing, he now recognizes that it was a natural progression. A brief stint in Hollywood in between has led to a promising movie project -- he wrote the script and will produce it -- but he worries he may jinx it with too much loose talk “because God knows it may never get made, and someone will write in [the New York Post’s] Page Six, ‘Tom Ford’s movie career fails…’ ”

Living in the present also happens to be at the core of his business strategy. A pragmatic man, Ford is in menswear because it’s less fickle, more reliable, than women’s fashion. “I didn’t want to do it the same way again,” he says. “I’ve done 16 collections a year and eight runway shows a year, where you constantly have to reinvent the wheel: the new shoe, the new bag, the new thing, and it’s so disposable. This is a different business, it’s a slower business, it’s less about fashion and more about quality, so I can have silver hair and still be doing what I’m doing and have it all make sense.” Although he doesn’t rule out introducing women’s wear, it would have to be strictly on his terms. “I do think someone needs to reinvent the way that women’s fashion works, whether I choose to do that in two or three years or not. I’m just afraid that once I stick my toe in that pond I’ll be sucked up and the next 30 years will whiz by and I’ll just have a bunch of dresses hanging in a museum, and I won’t have had time to have really lived.”

Who is likely to shop at the Tom Ford store, where a money clip might set you back a few thou and a top hat sits in a display case without apparent irony? When I walked around the store’s elegant dressing rooms I couldn’t help thinking of Tyler Brûlé, the jet-setting founder of Wallpaper magazine and Monocle, who is forever searching for the perfect this, the ultimate that, and who might well want a shirt in all 340 colors the store offers. (Who knew there were so many?). Ford describes the typical buyer as a man much like himself, although one suspects his eye is really on the booming Asian market. “I was in Beijing and Hong Kong and Shanghai in April looking at store locations, and I wish every American could go and stand on the banks of the Yangtze River in Shanghai and look across at the skyline, which is something from a science fiction movie. You feel so humble: Whoa, this is where it’s happening; this is the future. You get a completely different perspective of America there than we do here.”

Although he got into trouble at the time of the Iraq invasion for telling an Italian newspaper he was embarrassed to be American, Ford doesn’t disguise his despair over the Bush administration. [...]

Wary of identity politics -- “I don’t feel defined or restricted by my sexuality” -- he is nevertheless scathing about the political debate over same-sex marriage. He and Buckley even toyed with the idea of applying for British citizenship so they could register for a civil union there. “I love being an American, but it’s sick that if I died tomorrow, 50% of my property would go to the government and the leftovers would go to Richard, whereas if we were a heterosexual couple, that wouldn’t happen.”

Ford doesn’t take himself seriously enough to expect anyone else to, but his transgressive ad campaigns have a clear political subtext: We need to get over our sexual hang-ups. Like other designers of his generation, he extols the ’70s as a time of sexual license and liberation. “I remember when it was in vogue to have gay friends or to be at Studio 54 while two guys were fucking -- fucking -- right there in front of you, and there’s princess so-and-so smoking a cigarette and having a cocktail, and it was all, like, ‘I’m cool, I’m liberal, that’s OK, that’s great.’” He shrugs off critics who claim he objectifies women by pointing out that he’s an equal opportunity objectifier; he’d be the first to run more penises in his ads if he could get away with it. Certainly, the ease with which he interacted with the models for Out’s boxing-inspired shoot reflected a man who was supremely comfortable around other men’s bodies. “I complimented their cocks in the shower,” he recalls. “I told one guy, ‘Your cock is really good; mine is usually bigger than this,’ and he said, ‘Oh, it’s just the water -- go stand under the shower.’”

This seems so breathtakingly audacious -- imagine it tripping off the tongue of any other designer -- that you wait a split second for the punch line or the wink that says “just kidding,” only to realize that Tom Ford, human and product both, is at once completely serious and utterly blasé. “If you behave that way and you respect people, I think they get it,” he says. “They sense from me that I’m not going to give one of them a blow job.” He shrugs. “I just don’t do that.”


New York Magazine
With a new super-high-end men’s store, the former Gucci designer explores who he is without all that libido to sell.

It’s not every day one gets to see the penis of a sex god. But Tom Ford, among other ostentatiously masculine habits, doesn’t wear underwear. And on a recent afternoon, while we were talking about the ladies who also do not wear underwear—Spears, Lohan, Hilton—Ford is saying that he doesn’t necessarily think they are gauche. “I don’t know, I’m not sure,” he says in his flirty baritone, accented by a macho Texas twang. “Why shouldn’t women have sex for enjoyment? Why should showing off be a bad thing?” He throws one hand in the air, snarls, and reaches down to grab it. “Men have been very crude for a long time—I mean, you walk down the street and guys scream, ‘Hey, baby!’”

One could be embarrassed by looking at Tom Ford’s package if he didn’t draw so much attention to it himself. In the ten years he helmed Gucci, and the four he designed for Yves Saint Laurent, Ford taught American women to become sexual dominants, supplying them the costume of stovepipe trousers and Halston–meets–Elsa Peretti white jersey dresses, as well as leather spankers and sterling-silver handcuffs. Women were personally bewitched by him, the straightest gay man alive: In the way that gay men dream of getting hot straight guys to play on the other team, women are enticed by Ford because his heavy-duty flirting encourages the fantasy that he could fall for you. “I feel,” he says breathily, “that I am keyed into the female consciousness.”

Today, Ford has moved beyond sex professionally, which has been confusing to him in a way. Three years after leaving Gucci, he’s opened a menswear store on Madison Avenue, providing suits, shirts, shoes, perfume, eyewear, and everything else for “all the guys I know, all my friends, who can’t fucking find anything to wear,” he says. “I mean, ‘Hello!’ Okay?” The brand will go global by 2008. “There’s really nowhere in the world that my name isn’t known,” explains Ford, recently returned from a trip to Asia with Sotheby’s, where he was happy to find that young women in Shanghai still recognized him and snapped pictures with camera phones. With a fortune of at least $250 million from his work at Gucci, and his ex-Gucci CEO Domenico De Sole as partner, Ford owns the new company that bears his name. “It made more sense for me to own it,” he says, shrugging. “If you have the money, why pay someone to give you money?”

At 45, Ford is still the only handsome male fashion designer, with perfect stubble, manicured nails, and not an ounce of fat: “When my clothes are getting tight, that’s not a sign to me that I need to go to another size—it’s a reminder that I have to stop eating, or suffer,” he explains. He has been scrutinized for signs of a toupee, Restylane, and lifted shoes. However, the Tom Ford chest hair remains in fine form, a forest of manliness barely concealed by a polo shirt, usually with merely three or four buttons undone.

"I am my own muse," he says. [...]

Though the metatext of the Tom Ford comeback is that he’s no longer just about sex—he’s about posh!—pretty much the only conversational subject Ford warms to is sex. Suddenly, his demeanor changes, and he assumes the sultry tone of voice of a 976 telephone worker. It’s his fashion-superhero sex costume, and he’s really comfortable in it. There are reveries: “I still like looking at naked people, even if I don’t quite look the way I used to without my clothes on,” he says. “It’s part of our nature, wanting sex; you eat tonight and you think you're full, but then tomorrow you're hungry again. Now there's all this cartoon sex because porn is so widespread - the girl going he he he he and the guy going uh uh uh uh - so boring. Imagine a hundred years ago, when you were just drawn to the person - imagine all the weird sex that happened! They didn't know what to do, they just did what they liked. Think of how perverted it must have been..." [...]

Ford’s new vision for men is very Ken Barbie on the jet for the weekend for razzle-dazzle business and pleasure in Dubai. The store, which comprises one ready-to-wear floor and a mezzanine of made-to-measure suites, is an Egyptian temple of metrosexuality—gleaming vitrines of diamond-and-onyx cuff links, eyeglasses with 18-karat-gold bridges, monogrammed hand-knitted socks, and a perfumery of Estée Lauder–produced scents. Ford has said that they are supposed to smell like the sweat of a man’s balls. A woman wants a man to smell like a man, he thinks. “You know, when I was young, men were very attracted to me, and teenage girls were attracted to me, but women weren’t, and now women are very attracted to me,” he confides. “So I think that I know what kind of men women want.” [...]

Just as starched shirts and perfect cuff links have become too fetishized in his mind, the muse and the brand have become a bright shiny object as well. Today, that object may be too ripe, yet the sex salesman still needs to hike up his skirt. It can be exhausting for someone who may not be at his core a sex superhero, but merely a charming man. “I don’t care about being the cool kid anymore—I’m so over that,” he says. “I’m getting too old to care about sex anyway.”

He downs a vodka-and-tonic. “Sometimes,” he says, “I feel that I’ve controlled my image too much, and no one knows who I really am.”


Prestige Honk Kong Magazine
Ford is running late. He’s on the phone with business partner Domenico De Sole, who’s available only briefly between long-haul flights. De Sole memorably left Gucci with Ford when they parted ways with French parent group PPR, and has again teamed up with the designer for his latest endeavour as chairman of the company.

While we wait, the designer’s faithful assistant, Whitney, keeps us company. Heavily pregnant with her first child, she’s wearing high heels and a form-fitting knit Azzedine Alaïa dress that looks even better – dare we say sexier? – pulled tight over her taut belly.

When Ford is ready for us, we’re guided up another flight of stairs to his private office. The 46-year-old designer greets us at the door and ushers us in with a smile. The room is suffused with light from a wall full of windows, and the intoxicating aroma of Ford’s new men’s fragrance, Extreme, permeates the air. An oversized Macassar ebony table dominates the long room, at the far end of which is Ford’s large desk. On a side table, propped against a wall, are black-and-white photos of his partner of 21 years, Richard Buckley, and Ford’s close friend Carine Roitfeld, the editor of French Vogue. Halfway obscured behind them is a framed photo of Ford’s notorious 2002 ad for M7, a perfume he launched while running YSL, featuring a full frontal nude male.

Dressed in an impeccably cut, grey three-piece suit, Ford motions for us to sit in two chairs next to him, orders up drinks (his is a Diet Coke), leans back in his chair, looks us straight in the eyes and smiles – ready for his first question. [...]

PHK: Lagerfeld says he does everything his way and takes no advice. What about you?
TF: Well, when my staff says to me, “Here’s plan A and this is plan B,” I always say, “There is no plan B. We have to figure out how to work plan A. And if you hit a wall you have to go around the wall, or dig under the wall, but you just don’t stop.” I’m very much that way when I‘m determined and I think something’s right. I figure out a way to make it happen. So sometimes you pound your head into the wall, against the wall, around the wall, under the wall and you still don’t succeed, but you must make sure you’ve tried everything when you think it’s right.

PHK: This is a very intimate set of photographs that your photographer Jeff Burton created for us. It’s so Tom Ford, don’t you think?
TF: Yes, these are some of my favourite pictures. I love them because Jeff is someone who I’m very comfortable with. I actually don’t like having pictures taken of myself.

PHK: You’re kidding. I thought you’d be the opposite.
TF: No! No one ever believes that, but I hate it. I really do, I hate it. So I only show the world one side of my face. I don’t give a lot in pictures because I hate it. I think these pictures capture something that not all photos do because we were so relaxed together.

PHK: Did you think you would come back to fashion when you left in 2004?
TF: No, I thought I was never going to do fashion again. I was a textbook-case burnout. I’d been burned out from not only designing two collections, which I was very proud of, but the last two years of my time at Gucci were complex contract negotiations almost every day with PPR. And it was more and more apparent that what they wanted was not what we wanted. I just saw François [PPR Chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault] the other night, actually. I gave him a big hug and a kiss. We’re friendly, I like him enormously as a man, but as business partners we had different visions. And so it started to become apparent that we were going to have to leave and that was very traumatic because I had devoted an enormous amount of myself to the company, as had Domenico. So, no, I really thought I was not going to come back to fashion.

PHK: What were your impressions of the menswear market before you launched Tom Ford?
TF: I was examining it through the eyes of a consumer. When I left Gucci, I thought, “Well, what am I going to wear?” because at Gucci and YSL I made my own clothes for 14 years. So I went to all the competition, because I thought, “I love Prada, I love the skinny little Prada suit,” but when I went I found that there were five jackets and four pairs of pants and maybe the cut was a little too trendy for me, and the fabric was not what I would want.

I couldn’t find a company that addressed my needs. So I started having my clothes made on Savile Row at Anderson and Shepherd, who did a wonderful job, but it was kind of a struggle to ever get them to do anything different – cut a lapel extra wide or give my jacket shoulder a bit of a roll. And I started realising that I’m a fashion designer, I can go and draw and battle with them and say, “Why don’t you cut the lapel this way” and I can get what I want, but for the average consumer I realised there was a big niche in the men’s market.

Most fashion brands do a small capsule men’s collection. For example, if you go to Gucci, there’s a men’s collection but it isn’t really head-to-toe everything. It’s not a men’s store that has five floors of menswear just devoted to men and every single thing they need. What I’m doing now is kind of a reaction to everything we did at Gucci, where we democratised luxury to the point where I don’t know if it was a true luxury product anymore. It was a great product. But I couldn’t find the level of service that I wanted from anyone and I realised that there was a missing gap between fashion designer and tailor that no one was meeting in the market.

And from a business standpoint, I also thought about Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani, who still dominate the world of menswear in terms of actual men all over the world, they’re both in their 70s . . . There was no one working in menswear that was creating a company built completely for men.

PHK: Do you remember the moment you realised you wanted to do a menswear line?
TF: I can’t remember the exact moment, but I’m sure there was one because that’s how I am. I might have been in bed and realised “yes.” But I was also really missing designing. I was missing building things, I was missing being around beautiful things and being able to think of an idea and make it. I also realised through retiring, for only really about six months, that I will never retire and that I will never retire again. I don’t need to fantasise about it because I realised that about 90 percent of the enjoyment of my life comes from work.

PHK: It seems that Tom Ford is going beyond bespoke, if that’s possible. It’s Savile Row with more snap. You’re super precise. The same way Cary Grant could phone his Savile Row tailor from a film set and tell him to move a buttonhole one-eighth of an inch. You’re designing for a really impeccable gentleman.
TF: [Pauses] International impeccable gentleman. That’s nice.

PHK: But do enough of them exist in the world today?
TF: The difference is Cary Grant was a very stylish man. He knew how to direct his tailor, and not everybody today knows how to do that. Therefore, we’ve created a hybrid between a tailor and a fashion designer. We’re doing something I don’t think has existed. We want to make every man look like Cary Grant, with a little help from us.

PHK: Do many or any of your clients “direct” you?
TF: We do have some, but I like to think I’ve thought of it all for them in advance. I don’t say this in an egotistical way, but I’ve never had someone say to me “could you do that?” and I hadn’t already done it or thought about it, because that’s my job.

PHK: In fact, you dress the man in full.
TF: We are getting men who’ve been dressing at tailors and men who’ve been at fashion brands but who want more selection. If you need a top hat, we make them. If you need a morning suit, we make them. Now, we’re not going to be doing huge business in morning suits, but in England everyone still wears morning suits for weddings, and if you want one, where do you go? Who has that?

PHK: Who’s your target customer – you?
TF: I am. I like to design for me as I am, me if I was 60, me if I was 25, me if I were thin, blond, six foot tall and 25; everything runs through a filter of “Would I wear that if I were that person? Would I want to see my father in that or my nephew in that?” But I happen to be our actual target customer. Our real target is men in their 30s and 40s, urban customers, very sophisticated, [a man who] knows himself, who wants beautiful tailored clothing but with a bit of a modern shape.

PHK: So this is couture for men?
In a way. It’s the closest to what women have had in Chanel for a long time. They can go and buy a very high level of ready to wear, but you can also have something made for you. But men really haven’t had that, that kind of a company that just caters to them.

PHK: What are your failsafe rules to help make me look like an international impeccable gentleman?
TF: I usually tell the client, nip the waist in more because it will create more air between your waist and your arm, which will make you look thinner, which will look better in photographs. Always keep your jacket buttoned. If I had one rule for men, it’s this. Keep your jacket buttoned always. It instantly makes your silhouette. It’ll take pounds off you if you keep it buttoned, just in terms of your shape. Especially if you’re someone who’s being photographed, you really should always have your jacket buttoned.

PHK: How do you keep yourself looking so great. It must take a lot of effort?
TF: It does, but I don’t put in the effort in a gym. For example, I’ve been skiing recently in Aspen. I ski a lot, I ride, I play tennis at least three times a week. I do Pilates, I do yoga. I’m a physically active person. I weigh myself on a scale every day, every morning at the same time. If I gain more than two or three pounds, like I have right now, I’m going to eat vegetables tonight.

PHK: That’s a very precise approach to diet.
TF: Yes, seriously. But I still live. I don’t ever cut out vodka and tonics. My trick is that if I eat vegetables at night three or four days in a row, I quickly snap back to my ideal weight and I just am very conscious of it. I always have been.

PHK: It obviously works.
TF: That’s just the way I am, I guess. But I can’t say I stand in front of the mirror and criticise and think, “Shit, my stomach’s looking floppier, my butt’s starting to sag or, you know, what am I going to do about” . . . and I’m not crazy about it. I realise I’m getting older. We’re all getting older. I don’t mind getting wrinkles. I don’t mind looking my age, but I just want to look the best version of my age and feel good, too. And . . . I like clothes . . . so when I put on a suit I want to feel like I look good, you know? Why spend all that energy, time, effort and money buying beautiful clothes if you’re not going to keep your body in the best shape it can be in.

It’s a kind of pride thing. I take pride in my appearance. And dressing well is kind of good manners, if you ask me. You’re inflicting yourself on the public in the same way as a piece of furniture. When you’re standing in a room, your effect on that room is the same as a chair’s effect, or a sculpture. You’re part of someone’s view, you’re a part of that world, and so you should . . . I find it’s a show of respect to try to put on your best face and look as good as you can.

PHK: I’ve heard that you’re a hygiene fanatic who takes baths three times a day.
TF: I take baths, yes, but it’s really nothing to do with hygiene. Sometimes at my ranch, I won’t bathe for three or four days. I take baths because when I’m in the city and working, I find it relaxing when I get up in the morning and need to wake up slowly. I’m not a great morning person, so I lie in a hot bathtub and just kind of come to life. Then I take a bath before I go out to dinner, as I’m exhausted by the day and I feel like I need to lie in that bathtub, so I can put on a crisp shirt and go out to dinner and then when I come home I want to lie in the bath and wash all the cigarette smoke off myself from wherever I’ve just been . . . and just relax enough so I can go to sleep . . . because I don’t sleep very well. So it isn’t a cleanliness thing. In fact, I think Americans are often too clean. And sometimes I don’t use soap when I take these baths. The goal isn’t to soap myself up and scrub everything off. It’s just to sort of lie in the hot water. It’s relaxation.

PHK: Words like “exclusive” and “limited edition” are used for everything now in fashion. For you, what’s authentic luxury?
TF: First of all, the product has to be made of the highest quality. Attention to detail – the way the buttonholes work, the way the back of the lapels are rolled back – and the best quality product.

On top of that you have to layer great service, because luxury for me is getting someone on the phone instead of an answering machine when I call. And it’s being able to get help when I walk into the store, and someone who calls me when something comes in that I might like, and sends it to my apartment and will pick it up if I don’t like it, and really takes care of the customer in a way that once upon a time people were able to receive that kind of service. That is a huge part of what luxury is for me right now – to be taken care of.

PHK: You’ve said you think the future of menswear and the future of fashion in general is China. Why?
TF: I think that all Americans specifically and perhaps all Europeans should go to Shanghai and stand on the banks of the Bund and look across at the cityscape, which was not there 15 years ago, and you feel the 21st century, you see it being built before your eyes. It’s very humbling. It’s a very humbling thing to realise that Europe was the centre of the world in the 19th century, and America had the 20th century, and for me the 21st century is not just China but emerging markets.

PHK: Do you have a defining suit from your past, say for a graduation?
TF: I do have one. It was a green suit. It was fabulous. I have a portrait that was painted of me in that suit. I was nine. It was green, double breasted with gold buttons, and I wore it with a shirt of a paler shade of green. I thought that suit was really hot!

PHK: As you’ve aged, does the need to be “in the know” lessen?
TF: Oh, absolutely. You start to trust your own instinct more. And that’s kind of important too. To rise above the chatter of the world, and I don’t mean that in any egotistical way. When you’re young, you’re very impressionable, like a sponge, and you just take things in. As you get older, you become confident enough in your own tastes . . . By the way, can I say, at TF we are fashionable but we’re not about the latest fashions.

PHK: What’s the first thing you notice when you meet a man?
TF: Confidence, confidence, confidence! And you can fake it. I mean, it’s best if it’s real. Actually, I’m a very shy person, and you might say that’s bullshit, but I am and I guess I developed that ability to project from an early age. It’s armour. A lot of performers have it, and I’m not saying that I’m a fake at all. In fact, sometimes I’m too honest when I talk to people – often when I talk to journalists. But you project that – the confidence – and the way you carry yourself and the way you walk. That’s the first thing I always notice, the thing that makes people jump out: somebody who walks right up to you and says, “Hi, how are you?” and looks you right in the eyes.

PHK: And wearing a Tom Ford suit could help with that?
TF: Absolutely! For a man or a woman, that was always my goal with clothes. To hide the things you don’t like and enhance the things you do like. To make you feel good about yourself so that you can stop feeling self-conscious and start concentrating on the person you’re with. And that, I think, makes people very attractive.

Tom Ford__Fall 07

The Man With the Golden Touch
How long should you wait before asking if someone's had Botox? This was just one of several questions that crossed my mind when menswear designer Tom Ford, 47, very handsome if suspiciously unlined of face, arrived for lunch in Beverly Hills on a bright Monday afternoon. (Other mental queries included, were those glinting chest hairs, visible thanks to the almost half-unbuttoned shirt, specially oiled for this occasion?) It felt a little intrusive to ask a man about his medical procedures before he'd even had his iced tea. So I waited until he finished his drink.

"I haven't had any plastic surgery - despite what people think, this is my nose," Ford replied, as smooth as his face. "I have had Restylane and Botox, but I don't think of that as plastic surgery any more. It's true I can't really frown, but I can move my eyebrows, so..." [...]

Under him, the company (Gucci) invested cannily in young designers, including Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. Though Ford insists he takes "absolutely no credit" for the success those three have had since, Ghesquière nearly welled up when I asked about Ford and said the designer "taught me everything". [...]

He quickly switched to theatrical studies to fulfil his ambition of becoming an actor. He became so successful in commercials - at one point starring in 12 at the same time - that he dropped out of college. "I'm not going to tell you which ones, because I don't want you to look them up," he says, but then proceeds to re-enact them, showing the moves one makes when advertising anti-acne cream, shampoo and, to the bemusement of our fellow diners, deodorant. But he soon realised he would never be happy as an actor, mainly because he resented being told what to do. "I did not like having to read a line the way a director told me to when I thought it was stupid. Or not being able to rewrite the line myself." [...]

When Ford edited an issue of Vanity Fair in 2006, he was on the cover, nuzzling a naked Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley. "Honestly, I was not supposed to be on the cover." He sighs. "That picture was taken when I was showing Rachel McAdams [an actor who left the shoot because she felt "uncomfortable about being naked"] what to do. But, of course, I liked the picture..." [...]

"I understand that I have a certain look that can be used to my advantage. I know the power of that when I walk into a room and talk to people, and I can use it as an advertising tool. Now I am actually selling me, my face, my thoughts. So I am my guy," he says.

When he launched his label in 2006, it looked like self-indulgent folly to some. Why would someone with such a talent for giving mass appeal to luxury lines run into the narrow niche of, to use Ford's favourite word, exclusivity? Now, however, when most designers are worrying about the economic downturn, Ford's business model looks downright prescient. It's not that he believes the nonsense touted in many fashion magazines that the best form of economising is to buy expensive things because they are "investments". Instead, it's that the customers Ford has targeted are people who won't be affected by a recession or, if they are,"they're buying fewer Warhols but still buying suits". Currently there are stores only in New York and Milan, but by this time next year there will be 16 more.

If Ford defined a new image of women in the 90s, what does the success of his label, with its $17,000 jackets and $4,000 blazers, say about 21st-century men? Well, it certainly says something economically. As Ford puts it, "Because of the increase of wealth in this world, it is possible to have a new business model where you can reach a very healthy scale of business catering only to a smaller percentage of people - people with, let's be real, a lot of money."

Ford admits the one thing he missed when he left Gucci was "not having a voice in popular culture". Surely, by making his brand so expensive, his influence is somewhat limited? He argues that it's not necessarily the clothes themselves that reflect culture, but the whole concept of the brand. "I think people are sick of trends changing every six months - not because we're tired of them, but just for the sake of change. There is so much junk in the world: junk TV, junk movies, all those junk magazines with the same people on the cover. Our clothes are about quality and making the man's body look good, which is not something that a lot of menswear designers think about any more." [...]

Before meeting Ford in LA, I went to his store in New York. "Obsessively detailed" doesn't begin to describe this giant luxurious uptown temple. Put it this way: there is a man who just looks after the bonsai trees. "Absolutely. Each tree goes to the countryside every seven days for a month to get some sun," Ford says proudly. But the store was packed. Yes, some were window-shoppers, but there was one man ordering his winter wardrobe and another getting a $7,500 suit. The obsessive detail and bonsai trees seem to be working. "I probably do have an obsessive personality, but striving for perfection has served me well," Ford says. [...]

When we leave, he, ever the gentleman, insists I walk in front and we march out together, him complimenting me on my outfit. It's only when we get to the door and I turn to say goodbye that I see he has put on his sunglasses specifically for the walk past all the gawking fellow customers and assumed the stern "I'm a celebrity, don't look at me but actually please do" expression familiar from photos of him on the red carpet. When one is selling a perfect image of oneself, there is no time off.

Spring 08

…having to design 16 collections a year and make a lot of silly stuff I really didn't care about. Leaving Gucci taught me a lot about who is a real friend and who is a friend for business. The Gucci experience was horrible. I was burnt out from working too hard and I was exhausted from the experience and a certain disillusionment and an inability to see my future.

Richard knows I've wanted this (a child) for a long time. He's just resisted it. He would be a spectacular father. It's going to give his life new meaning … It will be biologically mine. I mean, I'm a lot younger. If things follow their natural order he'll [Richard] probably leave the planet ahead of me and I can't not have had something I've wanted forever. I've always wanted kids. I don't want to get to 75 years old and just have made a lot of dresses, done some houses.

[We'll have] about 50 stores in the next two years. Except Paris. Paris is not a priority. Our stuff is not aimed at tourists coming in and taking a lot home — and Parisian men don't know how to dress!

I didn't play American football [when I was 12], so I wasn't so popular. At fourteen or fifteen all of a sudden I became very popular because — and I'm not saying this in an egotistical way — I became good looking. I wasn't even aware of it but other people were all of a sudden aware that I was handsome. I was having sex with girls when I was 14, and that was because they were pouncing on me. I wasn't even aware that I preferred men.

I will not retire until I literally drop dead.

Remember how Tom Ford told Fantastic Man magazine he wanted a kid? Now he tells Fashion Week Daily he regrets it!
What I learned from Fantastic Man–and from saying that–is that I will never say anything about it again. I would love to be a father; I’ve often commented about it. I don’t know whether I will. As we say in the fashion industry, I don’t have anything in the works at the moment. When I do have a child, I will simply announce it, and then that will be that. No one will see the child and the child won’t be photographed. It’s a private thing. [nymag.com - Jul.18/08]

[Out - 2007]
I have to say that I don't think gay is the most attractive word; if I were art-directing the creation of a word that would describe homosexuals, I think I might have tried to find another word. Gay makes us sound silly and frivolous, which is probably where it came from originally — it was first used in a Cole Porter song in the thirties — and I think it was probably a bit derogatory, and so it’s not a word I necessarily like, but it’s what I am, whatever, it’s fine.

I love women, I just don't fall in love with them, but I'm attracted to them, I find their bodies beautiful, and I can relate to them as the pursued, because of course as a gay man you understand what it's like to be taken - to be an object to your partner - as well as what it's like to be the aggressor.

If I lived in a one-room hut, every piece of grass that made the roof would be lined up in the same way, and the hut would have an aesthetic, and there would be two pots. I'm obsessed with perfection to the point that it's nearly an illness, and I work really hard to control it because I'm trying to learn see the perfection in imperfection.

Rules of Style
4. I hate the trend of short suit jackets. When a man’s butt is showing below the bottom of his jacket, I think it makes him look like a female flight attendant from the back—not my idea of sexy.

7. Just like girls need to learn to be comfortable in heels before they go out in them for the first time, a man should try wearing a suit throughout a normal day. I do most things in a suit—and sometimes even in a tuxedo—and so I’m really comfortable in one.

9. Time and silence are the most luxurious things today.

10. There’s one indulgence every man should try in his lifetime: If you’re straight, sleep with a man at least once, and if you’re gay, don’t go through life without sleeping with a woman. Either way, you might be surprised at how natural it will feel if you can get past the mind-fuck of stereotypes. In the end, it’s just another person that you are relating to in a physical way.

Mario Testino (fashion photographer): I found that, in the 1990s, advertising campaigns became more exciting than editorial. When I started doing Gucci with Tom Ford he pushed me to new heights. He was, like, "I've seen you do better than that. Don't get worried because it's a campaign." Before we were restricted because of the concerns around the world: you can't have nudity in some countries; a man cannot be touching a woman … there were lots of different things. He really changed things (with overtly sexual advertising). [nymag.com - Jul.08/08]

Stefano Pilati (Yves Saint Laurent head designer): Tom is a seducer … When I met him, I was under his spell. But I was amazingly scared to move to Paris and work for YSL. Prada was like a family, and it was a very female environment. Tom was surrounded by men, and he was like a fashion designer in a movie. We were naïve at Prada — we did things because we liked them, and they took off. Tom was much more calculated. I spent the first year trying to absorb his mentality. It was very difficult. Tom was mostly living in London, and I was being tested by everybody at YSL in Paris. Even the receptionist. They all hated Tom, and they were all telling me about Mr. Saint Laurent and what he used to do. [nymag.com - Sep.02/08]

Tom Ford may have just launched an expensive perfume called Black Orchid, but he’s really a fan of B.O. I don’t wear deodorant, he said at the fragrance’s Top of the Rock launch party. I don’t! I actually love the way that human beings smell. And I love the way my dog’s ears smell. My smell is a little sweat, a little dog.

He admits to sleeping just two or three hours per night - keeping Post-It notes beside the bed in case he wakes up with an idea. I'm lucky, I have mass-market tastes, he says. When I say I like a shoe, generally thousands of people will like it. [vogue.co.uk]

Tom Ford Store - Madison Ave.
FTV Tom Ford Special - Part I
FTV Presents: Tom Ford
Tom Ford on Jeff Koons

Tom Ford - blog

Tom Ford Wants You to Be Okay With Penises
Let's talk about naked men and penises. That first sentence made you feel uncomfortable, didn't it? The image above these words you're reading is probably making you uneasy, too. But Tom Ford doesn't want you to feel that way. In fact, he devoted an essay to the subject of male nudity in the spring/summer (2008) issue of Britain's GQ Style. He explores why looking at and talking about naked men makes us so uneasy. Why, he asks, is it "gay" for another man to comment on another man's figure, when women can freely tell other women their boobs look great? Like women, men notice how members of their sex look, Ford explains. But "it's so uncomfortable for us to fit 'masculine' and 'beauty' together. So we tend to avoid the issue entirely," he writes. Fascinating. He provides many more Fordulous answers to equally pressing queries. Enjoy our exercise in pretending we got to interview him.

But, Tom, why do you objectify women more than men in your ads?
As much as I've tried, it has been consistently harder to get images of nude men onto magazine pages and billboards than it has nude women. In a society where images of brutal violence are consumed during breakfast, the male nude is one of our last taboos. There's a double standard at play here: magazines that are happy to fund ads featuring an artfully lit female nude will balk at an image of her male counterpart.

American fashion magazines don't show breasts like European ones do. Do you think nude phobia is a uniquely American problem?
In Sweden or Japan, or other places … casual nakedness at the sauna or the bath house is part of daily life, but in the places that I call home, the fear factor around nudity seems to be rising. I have always found it ridiculous that, in America, if I wanted to run an ad of a woman with bare breasts I had to retouch her nipples. Now why would a woman's bare breasts, created as nature intended, be more shocking than a bizarre pair of breasts with absolutely no nipples? What could be more perverse?

So tell us the damn truth about being a woman.
Women have long been objectified in our society; images of beautiful female forms are everywhere. Go to a dinner party and women are wearing tiny dresses, exposing their legs and baring their toes in high-heeled sandals. They're basically naked, with a little bit of draping over their body. Think of how tough it must be to be a woman in our culture. Women are constantly judged by their bodies and the size of their breasts.

But, Tom, what if we lived in a world where penises were breasts?
Imagine … if our suits were entirely designed to show off our penises. Imagine if contemporary fashion demanded that you left your cock hanging outside your trousers, with perhaps just the head trussed up in a tiny pouch like a dick bra. Everyone would see our cocks all the time, in the same way that fashion features women's breasts.

Tell the ladies why male nudity is so very different from female nudity.
Women may have a hard time understanding this, but imagine if, when they were dressing for a party, their breasts looked great, and then, just as they were stepping out of the taxi to enter the restaurant, their breasts withered to a sad, wrinkled little things. Perhaps the unpredictability of the penis can make us nervous about taking our clothes off.

But the models in this photo shoot look so comfortable!
It was almost impossible to find non-professional models to volunteer for the photographs on these pages. The result is a mix of models, actors and ordinary guys … Most of the straight models who showed up had their pubic hair completely shaved; some artistry on the part of the hairdresser was required to get the natural look we wanted.

But you make clothes, Tom. Gorgeous ones, too. Why are you championing being without them?
With a more natural relationship to nudity, we might also be freed up to find each other a lot more fascinating. There's an equality to being naked; the fewer clothes and accessories a person wears the less you judge them, and the more you notice their truest traits, like their eyes or their charisma, their great hands or their one-of-a-kind hair or, most importantly, their personality and character. As much as I love clothing, it gives us one more layer to hide behind.

[nymag.com - Jun.04/08]
Tom Ford has encountered yet another speed bump in his lifelong quest to make the world okay with male nudity. For the spring/summer issue of Britain’s GQ Style, he wrote an impassioned essay questioning why exposed penises seem to be the last taboo... So imagine Ford’s surprise when he picked up a copy of his essay and the photo spread he’d directed in GQ Style to discover artfully placed blocks of text on every photo. “They censored all the penises!” he told us at the CFDA awards on Monday. “I was really pissed off about that. That wasn’t why I got [involved]. It was supposed to be full-frontal male nudity, which was the way we shot it, and then the magazine censored all that!” If it were up to Ford, no body part would be off-limits in an ad campaign or editorial. “Not if I can get away with it,” he said. “Because I find the human body beautiful. I don’t find sex objectionable. Violence is objectionable.”

Spring 08 Campaign__photog: Terry Richardson

Spring 09__photog: Tom Ford

Tom Ford not only art directed his spring men’s wear and eyewear advertising campaigns, he also shot the photographs for the first time. “I have taken pictures for years, but recently have become more serious about it and have started shooting portraits,” said Ford. “I have always felt that an advertising image is in a sense the last layer of the design, and so decided this season to just shoot the campaign myself.“

Ford has been busy shooting and editing his film, based on Christopher Isherwood’s “A Single Man,” in Los Angeles since November. The story is set in midcentury, the era to which the spring ad campaign also harkens back.

The ad images were shot in a Los Angeles studio featuring the label’s signature male model, Jon Kortajarena, and model Karen Elson. They will launch in March magazine issues. The company has planned ad pages in line with last year.

“Fashion advertising lately has become very complex in terms of production, and I think that often, in these dense, heavily art directed campaigns, that the clothes seem to get lost a bit,” said Ford. “I wanted to create clean, straightforward shots of a handsome man in beautifully cut clothes. Simple, clear, and fresh.” [wwd.com]

On the set of A Single Man__2008

The cast for Tom Ford's first movie is as top-notch as his menswear. Confirming rumors, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, and Matthew Goode will star. Would you expect anything less from His Fordulessness? Ford adapted the screenplay from the 1964 Christopher Isherwood novel A Single Man, about a gay English professor determined to persist through his usual routine in life after his partner dies suddenly and unexpectedly. Sounds uplifting! Firth will play the gay professor, Moore will play his friend, and Goode will play the deceased partner, appearing in flashback scenes. The project is independently financed and, according to Reuters, "a Monday start date is being eyed." [nymag.com - Oct.29/08]

Big Love's Ginnifer Goodwin has joined the cast of Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man. She stars alongside Colin Firth and Julianne Moore as Mrs. Strunk, "a suburban mom who doesn't share her husband's dislike of their neighbor, a gay professor (Firth)." Now if only Katie Holmes or Greg Kinnear would sign on, Tom would have the ultimate indie flick. [nymag.com - Nov.04/08]

Tom Ford & cast of A Single Man

Tom Ford Tells All
Known for his provocative reinventions of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, fashion designer Tom Ford has now remade himself, as director of A Single Man. Kevin Sessums’s frank interview with Ford reveals the extent to which he’s shedding his old skin.
“THE gay aspect of A Single Man certainly wasn’t what drew me to make a film of the Christopher Isherwood book. It was its human aspect, that unifying quality,” he continues, segueing into a discussion of his remarkable directorial debut. The film, which was nominated for the Golden Lion top prize at the Venice film festival, and for which Ford won Venice’s Queer Lion prize and Colin Firth the best actor award, opens in limited release December 11.

“If you said name 10 things that define me, being gay wouldn’t make the list. I think Isherwood was like that too. There are many gay characters in his works because his work is so autobiographical, but their gayness isn’t the focus. The one thing I liked about Isherwood’s work—especially when I was younger and grappling with my sexuality—is that there was no issue about it in his writing. That was quite a modern concept back during the time when he was writing. Quite honestly, I just don’t think about my sexuality. But maybe this has to do with being a part of the first generation to benefit from all the struggles of the gay men and lesbians that came before us.” [...]

"I’VE always had a thing for older, smart guys. And then I read everything I could find by Isherwood after we all met him. I was in awe of him and became a bit obsessed with him, really. When I picked up the book again in my 40s it affected me on a much deeper level. I realized this is a book about the false self. The first line kind of stopped me in my tracks: ‘Waking up begins with saying am and now.’ The underlying theme of the book is letting go of the past and being able to live in the present—which was what I was struggling to do at that point in my life. I no longer had a crush on George but felt as if I had become George myself—both mentally and spiritually. Though I certainly love the book, through the process of making the film I grafted much of myself onto it. It was cathartic.” [...]

“TO me, beauty and sadness are very closely linked,” Ford says, sliding lower into the sofa’s plushness, his languor not studied, no longer louche, but the result of his busy worldwide work schedule. “Truly beautiful things make me sad because I know they are going to fade. When I see a beautiful 20-year-old boy or girl—and they are breathtaking—I am filled with a kind of sadness. But maybe they are beautiful because we know they are not permanent and they are in a kind of transition.”

He pauses and remembers his posture. He straightens his spine. “I know what I am as a fashion designer, and when I started out to make my first movie I asked myself, ‘Who wants to see a Tom Ford film? What am I about? What do I stand for? What do I have to say?’ You have to be true to yourself, and I am not a person who is about reality. I am about enhanced reality. If I were working in a different period, I would have been working at MGM. By the way, Mr. Hitchcock — who is my favorite director—never made anything realistic in his life. Everything by him is so stylized. Another of my favorite directors is Wong Kar Wai. And Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is one of my favorite films. Part of the image of those two directors is the look of things. I’ll always be that way also.”

Ford, however, bristles at the Mad Men comparison. “It’s pure coincidence—even though I do use Jon Hamm from Mad Men in a voice-over role. There is nothing about Mad Men and A Single Man that are similar except that they are both set in 1962.”

Ford’s spine becomes even straighter. He fidgets with one of the several unbuttoned buttons on his gray shirt. He buttons it—then unbuttons it once more. “When you come down to it,” he says, “style without substance isn’t worth anything. I didn’t want to make a stylish film that wasn’t about anything. The substance was what was important to me, and the style was a part of telling that story—nothing more, nothing less.” With that, his spine seems to unspool and he slides back down into the sofa. [...]

FORD was quoted as saying he never feared death until he began work on this film and that he was afraid of dying before it was complete. “That’s completely true,” he says. “Because this film is so important to me—not only the message of this movie, but because I was putting so much of my soul into it. When I die no one will look at any of my fashion collections and get any true sense of me. But they can watch this movie and know what I was about.” END

Fashion Flight
Tom Ford wasn't keen to chat with fashion press about his directorial debut, A Single Man, but he had this to say about his duelling passions for fashion and film.
[Elle Canada / Jan.2010 / excerpt]
On which is more satisfying...
"Being a fashion designer is fulfilling in a certain way. You create something that has power, but it doesn't last long. It is powerful the first time you see a woman dressed in something beautiful that you've never seen before. Six months later, it's still nice. A year later, it's looking kind of old. After that, it's gone. Later, you can see it in a museum and admire it, but it doesn't have power. If you are a filmmaker, you create characters - what they do, what they say, how they live, how they die - and it's sealed forever in a bubble. Five hundred years from now, you are able to open that world and live it again. I think that's the most satisfying thing that someone who is creative can ever hope to achieve."

Tom Ford store__New York City

For men content with off-the-rack clothing, the ground floor stocks three-piece suits, dressing gowns, twelve colognes, and dress shirts in 350 colors and three cuff styles. Upstairs (via an ebony staircase or velvet-lined elevator) are the made-to-measure services. In three private rooms, men can customize suits, ties, shirts, shoes, pajamas, tennis shorts, even knit socks. Call ahead to book a private shopping appointment.

Private appointments can be scheduled before and after regular operating hours.

If my walk-in is any indication, Mr. Ford has confused exclusionary with exclusive.

Once I had cleared passport control, the experience was no less forbidding. The off-the-rack suits (starting around $3,000), Shogun-looking dressing gowns ($3,900) and formal attire (from $3,200) in the loungelike room to the left were enclosed in museumworthy glass cabinets that screamed, “Don’t touch!” Not a problem when it came to a beaver top hat (price on request) that would make any man look like a Central Park coachman, but if I am going to pay $5,690 for a dinner jacket, I want to try it on and have someone fawn over me while I do so.

The warren of rooms to the right was similarly unwelcoming, including a wood-paneled area devoted to shirts that bordered on claustrophobic. The day shirts alone (from $350 to $795) are available in two body shapes, 10 collars, two cuffs (barrel or French), 350 colors and 35 different fabrics. That’s more than 400,000 possibilities before you even consider monogramming. Service, the importance of which Mr. Ford has stressed in recent interviews — he apparently melted at the sight of his butler using a Bunsen burner to warm shoeshine wax — is therefore crucial to the success of the store.

Odd, then, that I was offered no assistance. Left to my own devices, I wandered in and quickly out of the octagonal perfume chamber devoted to scents like Velvet Gardenia and Noir de Noir ($165 to $450), which smell surprisingly more masculine than they sound.

Unimpressed by the selection of mostly cashmere-silk-blend sweaters and overpriced shoes ($1,390 for a pair of Chelsea boots; add another zero for crocodile), I decided to venture upstairs, where a lot of the most interesting accessories — limited-edition sunglasses and slick tie bars — had been on display at the party.

“Sir, this area is for appointments only,” said the security guard at the base of the stairs. I told him that I wanted to arrange a time for a fitting; he told me he did not know to whom to direct me. When I suggested he try the store manager, he replied, “Let me see if he has the time for you.”

You have to laugh. An unintentionally hilarious parody of a pretentious Madison Avenue boutique, the store reeks of arriviste Anglophilic posturing dressed up as aristocratic gentlemanly refinement. For all the preopening ballyhoo about the it’s-all-about-you customization and details like buttons on trouser cuffs so that your butler can brush away the remains of the day — at last! — the reality is more akin to a luxury store in a second-tier market during the mid-’90s. [...]

My visit the following day was markedly different. The service offered me, especially by the store manager, Edward Carbonell, who possesses a charming bedside manner and the best skin in high-end men’s retail, was exemplary. It was Champagne and smiles all around, but then the entire staff appeared to know I was a Times reporter since I had made the appointment in my name. The security guards were noticeably more low-key — Mr. Carbonell informed me that he had told them to back off as I was apparently not the only one who had been rubbed the wrong way — and the whole tenor of the place was friendlier, more inviting.

I was even allowed to go upstairs to one of the three private salons, though I made it clear that I had no intention of buying a suit. I went through the motions of being fitted for a made-to-measure three-piece single-breasted style, a not unpleasant process that was performed by Mr. Carbonell himself. (The store’s tailors work behind a glass-walled viewing area, but unlike an open kitchen in an upscale restaurant, the wall is covered by a chocolate velvet curtain.) I chose a lightweight, classic Prince of Wales check fabric and went for the more expensive “handmade” option — “sartorial quality,” I was told, is the store’s code for “mostly machine-made.”

For what it’s worth, the suit came in at just under $8,000. It’s a big chunk of change that rivals and in some cases exceeds the price of a bespoke suit on Savile Row, where the focus is on the art of tailoring and not on the art of branding.

I don’t know Mr. Ford, but if he really is the latter-day incarnation of Beau Brummel, as his press would have us believe, he not only subscribes to the theory that divinity is in the details, he would also be the first to point out that the hallmark of a gentleman is that he treats everyone with courtesy.

Leave it to Tom Ford to design like the whole economic-downturn thing never happened. Ranging from $4,470 to $9,240, his new collection of fur boots for men is "calculated to appeal to wealthy glam junkies and luxury ski freaks in places like Aspen and Gstaad."

Tom Ford has proven himself as a talented designer and businessman, but also has this other side that persists in taking things to vulgar, not sexy extremes. He insinuated himself on the cover of the Vanity Fair Hollywood issue with his sleazy, silly image (If he is gay, its ok, I think we're all cool with that, right? If he, at times, isn't, someone should tell him that Larry from Three's Company wants his mojo back). He seems desperate to portray himself as this horny, pansexual man, and his perfume bottle-on crotch ad and fur boots are logically hedonistic, indulgent accessories (no, excessories) which fit that image. YSL and Calvin are designers who, at some point, successfully packaged their own sexualized images with their brands. In Tom Ford's case, though, it doesn't work (can a man really be rugged AND botoxed? He's all open collars at three paces and sort of pinched and delicate up close. Ew.). His image, or rather the sense of his need to self-promote, gets in the way of the clothes, and his need to take things so far that he advocates the use of fur takes it to the place where a lot of people draw the line. Sexy, even too sexy, can be fun or feel good, but when it comes down to making the big statements, fashion or otherwise, and putting money behind them, a lot of people simply decide that otter boots that say "I'm a spoiled rotten shagged up hedonist" are, at a time when people are stepping up and saying so much more, pretty sad.

Tom Ford Launches $990 Jeans
Well you didn't expect denim by the man who makes $9,000 fur boots to cost less, did you? Tom Ford's new jeans, which retail for $990, are hitting stores now. They're made from raw-looking pre-washed Japanese selvage denim and won't shrink or shed indigo on any of your favorite undershirts. It's the least they could do for nearly $1k, after all. Better still, the front button is 18-karat gold plated, and the pockets are lined with fine silk.

What kind of a hole would spend that amount of money on a pair of jeans when people are losing their jobs and homes and can't afford to feed their children?

Changing your spending habits because other people are hungry is not the way to save the economy. Going out and spending on luxury items keeps the velocity of the money supply high. You can't save your way out of a recession. Otherwise you put the people who make them, design them, sell them and transport them out of jobs.
If people don't buy these pants, the recession wins.

Well I feel so much better about my last trip to Bergdorfs. I bought some seriously expensive goodies but why would anyone pay almost a grand for JEANS? I would pay that much for a dress, a handbag or a coat, but JEANS? ALL JEANS ARE BASICALLY THE SAME THE WAY I LOOK AT IT. I only own 3 pairs and rarely wear them so this could just be me.

Luckily for the economy, I have no trouble shopping despite my lack of funds. But I definitely agree with __--there are a few things I would spend that kind of money on, but jeans are definitely not on that list.

Although some people can't afford to keep their homes and feed their children. There are some who have so much money they use 1K to wipe their bums. If you have the means for it, why not? If I could I would buy them and of course not brag about it because that would be tacky.

Silk pockets and gold buttons are for Little Lord Fauntleroy.
Get some Sugarcanes or Flatheads for $250-$300 and get with the program.

Fragrance chamber

Sales of Menswear Are Up!
Sales of women's apparel fell 6 percent in the U.S. in the first nine months of 2008. But sales of menswear rose 1 percent. Even Tom Ford, who makes $10,000 fur boots and $990 jeans, said sales are brisk. “Women move from brand to brand depending on who has done a particular trend," Ford explains. "Men go into a store and they will spend more money because they’ll buy for the whole season. They don’t look at shopping as a recreation the way women do.” So men are creatures of need, and $5,000 Tom Ford suits are necessities. [nymag.com - Apr.13/09]

Upswing in Men's Clothing Market
“If a product works for a man, he will spend the money,” says Barry Alford, co-founder of Alford & Hoff (a successful men's-only grooming line). [...]

It is tempting to cast men’s wear as some sort of saviour of the fashion industry, but beware: even if men are spending money now, they are doing so in the same way that they have always done. “With men, it’s more about needs,” says Lucas Ossendrijver, the men’s wear designer for Lanvin’s increasingly influential and popular line. “If they buy something, it’s really because they need something.”

As a result, says Ossendrijver, “I don’t design a look, I design pieces. The pieces themselves should be special and should be able to carry the price. It’s not about a total outfit but the individual parts that make up a wardrobe.”

Men can be “schizophrenic” shoppers, according to Selfridges director of men’s wear, David Walker Smith.

“One week men will be cautious about buying suits, the next week they’ll come in and buy loads. It’s exciting as a business. It’s survival of the fittest.”

Spring 09 Collection

Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld Talk Shop (vid)
TF: We've become obsessed with comfort. I actually don't like that - I think you should suffer a little bit sometimes to be attractive and beautiful.

Daniel Craig wears suits designed entirely by Tom Ford in the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.
Ford says he tried to dress Craig simply: "By dressing him in a very simple way, it accentuates that it looks simple on the surface but it isn't. It's a metaphor for the perfect suit — the construction that goes into a good suit is a lot of hours of handiwork, but you shouldn't see any of that it the end result. It should look easy and natural and a part of you … I do design things that are more extravagant, but that wouldn't be right for Daniel Craig or Bond. Bond wears more of a uniform."

Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace
Suit: $4,390__Shirt: $530

Black Tie, Tom Ford, Balls and Stubble
Tom Ford’s menswear really goes somewhere. The wearer needs to as well in order to deliver the look properly. It’s full on. It says ‘I’m here’ quite firmly and loudly. You need balls to be wearing it. Look at the site. The images by Solve Sundsbo for winter ‘08 are very impactful. Terry Richardson shot the summer stuff, and needless to say it’s very ‘racy’. Ford has the finest Italian artisan craftsman employed creating this gear. It’s pretty fabulous if you ask me; the style, the attention to detail and the sheer indulgence. Someone’s got to take men’s style this far and in this manner, and Ford has. The accents on the cuts and finish are retro: chic like Thomas Crown, with the Seventies flamboyance of the Towering Inferno. I felt good in my get up. I planned to debut my Chaumet diamond dress cufflinks especially.

Double-Monk-Strap shoe

Looks like Tom Ford is finally showing some sensitivity to the customer not inclined to pay upwards of fifteen hundred bucks for a pair of off-the-rack shoes. By cutting his prices? Uh, not quite. No, come June, Ford will unveil a made-to-measure shoe service, launching at the designer's shops in Milan and New York. In true Tom fashion, understatement is strictly optional: Customers will be able to stamp their signature into each pair, and a double-monk-strap shoe (pictured) manages to be both elegant and borderline showy—the footwear equivalent of his wide-lapel suits. Expect prices, which aren't yet set, to make Berlutis look like a bargain. [stylemens.typepad.com - Jan.08]

Eyewear__Spring 09

Is Tom Ford Expanding to Womenswear?
A rumor is circulating in Milan that Alessandra Facchinetti, who was fired as head designer of Valentino last Fashion Week, is designing a line of womenswear for Tom Ford. Facchinetti was top womenswear designer at Gucci under Ford, and Ford has said he will return to womenswear. We anxiously await the ladies' version of his $1,000 jeans and $10,000 fur boots. [nymag.com - Mar.02/09]

________________FINAL FORD_______________

You can only make the slit so much higher, the stiletto so much taller.