Tom Ford 2.0: Catching up with the designer/director at his office in West Hollywood
When I went to interview Tom Ford at his office on Sunset Boulevard Thursday morning, I told him right off that there was no way I was getting naked. For the last newspaper interview Ford did, with the Times of London back in December, both he and the reporter were naked.
“I wanted to talk about the history of nudity in culture,” Ford explained to me. “I wanted it to be serious, but of course it became kind of silly.”
We agreed we'd better keep our clothes on for this one. And even clothed, Ford didn’t disappoint.
This time last year, he was riding the success of his first film, "A Single Man," through award show season. He was also putting the finishing touches on his first Tom Ford women's collection, which he showed in September in New York on some of the most stylish women in the world (Beyonce, Julianne Moore, Daphne Guinness among them).
With just 100 guests, and no photos allowed, that show turned the fashion week circus on its head, and signaled that this time, Ford was going to do things differently. The designer who made his name on the press he received while working for two of the industry's biggest brands -- Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent -- was ushering in a new era of personal luxury, designed with the customer in mind, not the critic.
During our interview, Ford talked about everything from developing a made-to-measure service for women's suits, to his love of Hostess donuts; why he no longer wants his fashion collections reviewed, to why he can’t wait to turn 50.
Here are a few tidbits:
On his women’s collection: “I want it to be like a woman’s own vintage collection that she can pull out and wear in different periods of her life. It’s about helping individual women become more themselves.”
On getting older: “When I was a kid I always wanted to be 50. I didn’t feel comfortable as a kid. I wasn't good at sports. I wanted to read things other kids weren't reading. I wanted to be at my parents' cocktail parties and mix martinis. I wanted to live the fantasy life I saw in films.”
On beauty: “I like women who know themselves. And occasionally, I like to help women know themselves … I find nothing more sad than a woman in a head-to-toe look from a store window, even if it’s mine.”
On doing a cheap chic or secondary line: “Not interested ... I have key chains, because women need things to put their keys on … But they aren't designed to crank out for $210 to busloads of tourists who arrive from other countries,” he said. “What interests me today, after 25 years of working in the fashion industry, is the very best.”
On no longer wanting his collections to be reviewed: “I'm not an artist with an art opening, and it's not a film. I'm just trying to make pretty clothes. And beautiful clothes make beautiful women, but sometimes they don't make fashion news. I don't want to be slammed for not making fashion news, or pushed to think about what we have that's new when we don't need anything new except another version of what we had last year that still looks good to me.”
The full report about Tom Ford will run Feb. 20 in the Image section, to coincide with the opening of the Tom Ford boutique on Rodeo Drive during Oscar week.
-- Booth Moore
Photo: Tom Ford and Julianne Moore at the 67th Annual Golden Globes. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times