August 27th, 1961– Tom Ford:
“I don’t think of myself as gay. That doesn’t mean that I’m not gay. I just don’t define myself by my sexuality.”
Not only am I inspired by people who along with tremendous talent, are also able to brand themselves, I want to follow in their footsteps. I have written about Martha Stewart, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, all masters at the art.
I would like to have my own line of products: nipple clamps made from re-purposed office supplies, cocktail mixers, and a magazine Stephen Rutledge Lifestyle. There would be a STEPHEN! television network, which would only show films and series re-runs that I appear in, that I love, or that feature: Stephen Hawking, Stephen King, Stephen Fry, Stephen Stills, or Stephen Colbert, but Stephen Miller and Stephen Bannon would be shunned. I want my own fragrance, Stephen Touché Douche: with notes of nutmeg, whiskey, dirt, and a just hint of desperation.
Thomas Carlyle Ford has not only made himself a part of his own product, he is his own muse. Each time I have come upon a print ad for Tom Ford, a man who has the right stuff and designs beautiful clothing; I have earmarked the magazine ad and said to The Husband:
“Wow, can you believe how beautiful he is? Plus, the clothing and accessories are gifts from a genius”.
The Husband concurs.
“I think I detach the physical from the spiritual. It’s my business to make a woman or a man beautiful, and I’m working with a model in a fitting, and I’ve objectified them to the point that they become an object.”
“They’re something that I’m modeling or shaping or sculpting, but I’m very aware that even though I make them physically beautiful, their soul & personality & character is somewhat detached from that. It’s great when you have a combination of the two. That’s what makes a true beauty. Some people are physically beautiful but yet they’re completely uninteresting, & thus they’re not beautiful. I detach the two. That’s why I think gay men make better designers.”
I would be very pleased to be snowed-in at a mountain cabin for a few days with Ford. I would try my best to leave him inspired. He is Daniel Craig‘s designer of choice and that is all the endorsement I really need.
Ford moved from Austin to NYC to study Interior Architecture at Parsons’ The New School For Design. During that era, Ford was known to hang out at the legendary Studio 54. The club’s disco-era glamour would become a major influence on his designs.
“I didn’t realize I was gay until I moved to New York. I was 17 and I just went crazy.”
Ford lived in Paris in the mid-1980s, where he worked as an intern at Chloé. The job involved sending clothes out on photo shoots, which began his love of fashion. He spent his final year at Parsons’ studying fashion, but still graduated with a degree in architecture.
In the 1990s, Ford worked as creative director of Gucci, turning around that venerable house from bankruptcy to huge profits. He then acquired The House Of Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) in 1999, again, serving as its creative director. He left in 2004 to start his own company with a line of women’s and menswear, eyewear, and accessories.
Last year, Ford was named one of GQ‘s50 Best Dressed Men and CFDA’s Fashion Award for Menswear Designer Of The Year. His designs for men and women are classic, deceptively simple, sophisticated and above all, sexually seductive.
“I always think about feminism. My mother was a ‘real 1970s feminist’ I’ve been criticized for objectifying women. But I’m an equal opportunity objectifier – I’m just as happy to objectify men. The thing is, you can’t show male nudity in our culture in the way you can show female nudity. We’re very comfortable as a culture exploiting women, but not men. But I don’t think of it as exploitation either way.”
Ford is a life-long Democrat and he openly supported Obama’s election campaigns. His public admission that the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq made him “ashamed to be an American” caused a temporary public backlash against him in the USA. He is a friend of Chelsea Clinton and he hosted a Fashion themed fundraiser for her mother earlier last summer.
I am in love with Tom Ford, but alas, he has been with journalist Richard Buckley, 14 years his senior, for 34 years. They were married in 2014. Ford was just 25 years old when they met. He claims it was “love at first sight” and that in that moment, he decided he would marry Buckley, who was 38 years old, “in the length of an elevator ride”.
At least he is into daddies. Buckley is the former Editor In Chief at Vogue Hommes International. He was diagnosed with that damn cancer in 1989 and was not really expected to make it. After his recovery the couple moved from NYC to London with their toddler, Alexander. Ford:
“I went to a fashion show and this silver-haired guy was staring at me with these piercing water-blue eyes. It scared me because I absolutely saw and knew my entire future. You can look at someone and feel like you’ve known them forever. That first night, I had drinks with Richard, and I felt I knew everything about him.”
Sitting and waiting at my Oncologist clinic, I passed up the 24-year -old copy of Field & Stream and opted for a 2013 Interview magazine with Ford on the cover. I was gobsmacked to learn this tid-bit from Ford:
“When I come home… I wear no clothes until I leave. I eat naked. I do everything completely naked.”
The three Ford-Buckleys share their lives with a pair of smooth fox terriers. Their first dog, John, lived 14 years with the couple and appeared on the runway and in Tom Ford photo shoots. Currently, they have Angus and India, who are ten and seven years old. These terriers appeared in Ford’s brilliant, heartbreaking film A Single Man, based on a novel by yesterday’s #BornThisDay subject, Christopher Isherwood. It was, for me, a masterful directorial debut and a stunning, emotionally devastating film.
Last year, Ford released his second film. Nocturnal Animals is a moody noir style thriller which he wrote and directed. It stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney and Michael Sheen. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, plus nine BAFTA Award nominations and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay, plus a Best Supporting Actor win for Taylor-Johnson. Shannon received an Academy Award nomination.
Ford’s awards case is too full of honors for me to even list, but it includes: Venice Film Festival’s Queer Lion Award, GLAAD Media Award, Independent Spirit Award, International Best Dressed List Hall Of Fame, and dozens of Best Dressed, Man Of The Year, and Designer Of The Year Awards.
Last week, Ford put a big distance between his name and the charming gold digger Louise Linton, wife of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, after she tagged his brand, along with other chic designers like Valentino in a much-criticized Instagram post.
The now-deleted post show is still available on screenshots. It features a photo of Linton disembarking from a U.S. government plane on a trip to Fort Knox, Kentucky with her husband, so that they could gaze at all the money and then watch the eclipse with a trained turtle named Mitch McConnell and diminutive Confederate monument name Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.
Linton tagged a bunch of designers: ”#RolandMouret pants, #TomFord sunnies, #HermesScarf, #ValentinoRockStudHeels, prompting good citizens to point out that taxpayer money was paying for their trip. They also called out Linton’s hashtag mania as distasteful and inappropriate, and looking très nouveau rich. Ford denies any connection to Linton and says that she received no merchandise or compensation from him. By the way, those sunglasses retail for $475.
Hey, his friend Jay Z wrote a song about him: