As one of the most influential designers of our age, Tom Ford has revolutionized the world of fashion and art one too many times. Today, he continues to make a mark through his eponymous fashion and beauty line, which is finally in Manila. Here are 10 things you should know about Tom Ford, the man.
1. Ford was one of the young fixtures at the iconic Studio 54.
In 1979, Ford moved to New York and enrolled at New York University as an art history major. It was around this time that Ford ended up being a regular at Studio 54, a disco-glamour club that would eventually inspire countless collections.
Tom Ford at Studio 54
Ford told New York Magazine, “One night, I was sitting in my room at Weinstein dormitory, thinking, God, please let someone knock on the door, because I was so lonely. Then this nice guy from my art history class in this cute little blazer came in, and he asked if I wanted to go to a party. Andy Warhol was at the party, and he took us to Studio 54.”
2. His start in fashion all came down to luck and smarts.
Although the burgeoning designer dropped out of NYU after a year, he stayed in the city and took up interior design classes at The New School’s art and design college, Parsons The New School for Design. After a stint in Paris as an intern for fashion house Chloe, Ford came back and shifted to fashion but still graduated with a degree in architecture.
Interviewing for jobs in fashion, Ford discussed his credentials as a Parsons graduate and Chloe intern while concealing the fact that he studied architecture and held a low-level public relations position. He bombarded American designer Cathy Hardwick with calls to consider him for an interview and got his start as her design assistant through sheer luck, smarts, and persistence.
3. Ford single-handedly revolutionized Gucci with his striking vision.
After working at Perry Ellis, Ford took a chance and took a job under a then-bankrupt Gucci. Ford quickly rose through the ranks and ultimately became the Italian brand’s creative director in 1994. Through Ford, the brand became synonymous with glaring necklines, velvet hipster trousers, silky satin shirts, metallic leather accessories, and barely-there strapped heels. Gucci was reborn with a sexy urban aesthetic which boosted sales up to 90 percent.
4. He’s a self-confessed workaholic-perfectionist.
While under Gucci, Ford was also tasked with designing for Yves Saint Laurent. He designed 16 collections every year for both men and women for over a decade. Taking his perfectionism to another level, Ford has gone on the record stating that he schedules appointments on his calendar over a whole year in advance.
5. Ford is a family man.
Ford is married to long-time partner Richard Buckley, journalist and former editor-in-chief of Vogue Hommes International. The two have been together for over 30 years. In 2012, the couple’s son Alexander John “Jack” Buckley Ford was born, reportedly through in-vitro fertilization and a surrogate. As a father, Ford has lovingly spoken about adjusting for his son Jack by toning down his OCD, relaxing his perfectionist ways, and even allowing Jack to wear his favorite "light-up dinosaur shoes" on weekends.
6. Ford takes multiple baths in a day.
In a Harper’s BAZAAR feature, Ford shared that he usually bathes three to five times in a day. He proclaimed, “Often I lie in the tub for a half hour and just let my mind wander. I find a bath meditative and usually prepare myself for the day in this manner.” The designer has also confessed that on particularly stressful days, he takes a bath every hour or two.
However, since becoming a father, Ford has reduced the number of times he bathes to just two. Telling the Evening Standard, “I resolve a lot of things in the bath.”
7. Much like other eccentric personalities, Ford swears off a number of things.
Cucumber, for one. When he was 14, Ford put cucumber slices under his eyes in an attempt to get rid of dark circles. Instead, he found that he had an allergy to the vegetable, leaving him with swollen eyes. Adding to the list, Ford has sworn off drinking and smoking since leaving Gucci. Yet another change since fatherhood, Ford has held off on Botox. "Since we’ve had Jack, I haven’t had a Botox injection or a filler. I haven’t had time," he told WWD.
8. If he weren’t in fashion, Ford says he would’ve dabbled in medicine.
In his younger years, Ford wanted to become an actor but talking to Vogue UK, he said, "In another life, I would love to be a cosmetic surgeon because it's architectural."
9. Aside from fashion, Ford is a director-screenwriter.
Ford made his directorial debut in 2009 by releasing the drama film A Single Man. Based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel, A Single Man stars Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, and Matthew Goode. The film received positive reviews from critics who singled out Ford’s direction and Firth’s performance. For his role in the film, Firth received a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role as well as Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Academy Award nominations.
In 2015, Ford released his second film Nocturnal Animals with Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal as the leads. The film received numerous accolades, including nine BAFTA Award nominations and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay, and a Best Supporting Actor win for Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
10. Ford’s beauty line is ever expanding.
Ford launched Black Orchid perfume, a move that would eventually lead to Tom Ford Beauty. With his beauty collection, Ford wanted to create the first true luxury brand of the 21st-century. And 10 years later, he's done just that with his 12-piece Private Blend scent collection, makeup, and skincare line.
One of his beauty line's highlights is a 100-piece lipstick collection called Boys and Girls. The collection is an ode to his favorite acquaintances with some shades named after notable celebrities, including Jake (Gyllenhaal), Carine (Roitfeld), and Naomi (Campbell). The label is finally in Manila, with the lipstick and perfume collections available at its first boutique at Rustan's Makati starting October 6.
*This story originally appeared on TownandCountry.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.