Suffering to look good
Defining the Tom Ford man was easy, he says. “It’s me.” The Tom Ford woman has been more elusive. His own verdict on his first women’s wear collection, shown in New York in 2010 with Beyoncé, Julianne Moore and Daphne Guinness modelling, is harsh. “The concept did not work. The collection seemed very disjointed and didn’t have the strong focus of what I believed.” His current collection suffers from no such identity crisis. Highly embellished, brightly coloured and finished to museumquality standards, it is maximalism taken to the extreme – Kapow-print dresses and patchwork velvet skirts with matching suede and leather thigh-high boots.
Personally, he’d rather be overdressed than underdressed. His pet fashion hate is when women wear his clothes head to toe. “I like it when a woman has her own style.” As for comfort dressing: “I recently made a gown for a friend to wear to an awards ceremony. She emailed me to say she loved it because it was so comfortable, and I thought, ‘Who cares if it was comfortable?’ Comfort forme is knowing I look great, and if I have to suffer in a corset for four hours to look amazing, that’s comfort.”
With business booming, achieving creative fulfilment, and fatherhood being everything he hoped it would be, Ford remains as ambitious as ever. He talks about having “a certain spirituality, non-denominational. I really did believe that money, material things and houses could make me happy. They can’t. Those things are nice and they’re wonderful. I’m very, very lucky that I have all those things, but what makes me happy is the people in my life. My values were not in the right place.”
So the ultimate alpha-career man took three months’ paternity leave and, with his partner, became a hands-on dad, changing nappies and getting up in the night for the threehourly feeds. He says he has a fresh respect for stay-at-home parents. “The one thing I did not anticipate was how I would hate allowing anyone else to take care of him.”
The longest he’s been separated from Jack is 36 hours, to attend the Met Ball. “I’m still the first person he sees in the morning. I wake him up and feed him, and I get him dressed for the day. I’m home every night for bath time, I read him a story and put him to bed.”
Ford, in 2013, may be kinder, gentler, wiser and happier than he was in the 1990s, but you sense he is still most comfortable when he’s setting the trend.
Ford protects his image and surrounds himself with the right people. Seen here with make-up artiste Charlotte Tilbury and actress Paloma Faith at the launch of the Tom Ford London flagship store (top); and with actress Eva Green during the 2011 Orange British Academy Film Awards