Last week I took one step closer to achieving a life-long goal, meeting Tom Ford. I was lucky enough to get a place at a talk with Mr Ford at the Apple store on Regents Street, London, hosted by Creative Director, Kirvana Balfour. I was a mere 10 ft away from the men, so close I could almost smell him (yes, I know I am getting weird but I don’t care, I idolise him). He looked as handsome in person as he does in his endless string of self-starred ad campaigns for his eponymous label. Dressed in his signature black suit with a crisp white shirt, unbuttoned to a dangerously low level revealing some serious décolletage, Tom carrys himself with an incredible air of confidence and prowess, his iconic beard looking as groomed as ever. OK, I’m done fan-girling (for now). Tom was in town to talk all things, well, Tom. Kirvana probed him on his life, his business and his future plan in 40 minutes of engaging conversation. There were a lot of great stories discussed and some interesting points. I loved how he got into fashion, using that now globally known charm and a few white lies to get him his first job, form which he quickly rose through the ranks to head up Gucci and Saint Laurent, he is indeed incredibly impressive. Kirvana also delved into Tom’s personally life, one that seems blissfully happy with his 27-year relationship with journalist Richard Buckley now having been made binding by marriage (an exclusive revelation to us) and being graced with the arrival of their son in 2012. Things are going well for Tom Ford. Tom also peaked the audience’s interest with anecdotes of his life behind the home of his doors; one lived in his birthday suit. (Put your tongue back in your mouth). As for the brand that is Tom Ford, the label has just launched TomFord.com and now sells through it. Tom pointed out the pitfalls of online such as shooting black; that it doesn’t show the textures, the fabric, and the silhouette well in studio lighting. Something he is adamant to find a solution for. Other highlights were a discussion on Jay Z’s now famous song, Tom Ford, that dress as worn by Beyoncé, Tom’s view on print mags and his lack of a mobile phone. A final highlight was Tom’s enduring style advice:
“Never, ever, ever wear anything you are uncomfortable in. Because that is what you’ll project: ‘I look like a fool.’ Even if you don’t – you’ll be tentative and not your best.”
… Tom was quick to then point out he by no means meant physically. Physical discomfort is fine, it’s about attitude – if you feel you can’t pull a look off you will portray a person who doesn’t pull it off He is one of a kind, and I say this from a serious point. As a gay man, there are not many role models in the limelight who demand such attention as Tom Ford. And not for being outlandish, not for being flamboyant and not for the fact he is gay. He is adored for his talent and vision, his incredible work ethic and genuinely nice personality. It’s definitely something worth aspiring to, it makes me want to dig deeper, work harder and be better. Ok is not good enough. Like Tom says, if the work is going to have your name on it then yes, be a control freak – own and deliver it on your own terms.
“It’s a dictatorship, not a committee decision. It doesn’t mean you don’t listen to everyone and take everything in, but ultimately you have to weigh it and make the decision. I don’t sleep very much.”