Suf­fer­ing to look good

Friday - - Society -

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

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