MR. FORD SPILLS ALL IN NEW BOOK
THE FOLLOW UP TO HIS CULT CLASSIC COFFEE TABLE BOOK
When Tom Ford began his first foray into the publishing space with his eponymous coffee table book Tom Ford, it became the number one coffee table book. Literally everyone who owns coffee table books has his Tom Ford’s first book in their home. The black fabric book instantly reached iconic and cult-like status, and has remained so over 17 years. Prominently featured home tours with Architectural Digest, VOGUE, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, and more! When Tom Ford announced he was releasing a follow up book, aptly titled 002 covering his last 15 years at the helm of his powerhouse empire, people went into a frenzy.
As Ford embarks on a press tour for the book, he spills the details of what this white book entails. In it he details his personal life; his struggles with addiction, his family, and the start of the empire that ultimately became the global juggernaut that is the Tom Ford brand.
TOM DIVES DEEPER
His publisher Rizzoli is also releasing a Tom Ford 001 & 002 Deluxe Edition a month after the standard book’s release date, retailing for $500. While the covers and packaging of the book have yet to be revealed, if there is anything that we know about Tom Ford, it will be nothing short of extraordinary.
With his first book, TOM FORD 001, Tom Ford charted his era defining work at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent from 1994 to 2004, capturing the hedonism of the decade in the process. Now, in a companion volume out this month, a now sober and vegan Ford, looks back. Despite the veil of mystery that tends to surround Ford, he discusses the many lives that he has lived since his last tome: becoming a husband and a father, overcoming substance abuse, and as a creative visionary who brought his style to the world of the movies as a lauded director, all the while managing a powerful fashion and beauty comeback with his eponymous brand.
The new book also features a foreword and introduction by two towering arbiters of taste, Anna Wintour and Graydon Carter. “Tom’s success is so monumental, his vision of fashion so sure and unerring, that it is impossible to overstate his achievements,” Wintour says in her foreword. Indeed, Ford’s canon of work is regarded as nearly sacred, among the fashion set at least.
THE KING OF IMPACT
“More and more the kind of billboard image of who I am, what I am, what I represent, has separated from the reality of my life.”
There may be no one in the world of fashion who does impact like Tom Ford does. The man is as mythological as his brand—known for sleek glamour of the ultimate old-school Hollywood variety. He’s fashion’s King of Sex. He’s famous for being a perfectionist. Editing his films frame by frame, and zooming in to amplify a shade of cantaloupe to give it the ideal tone; getting down on one knee, impeccably mannered, to ask Stella McCartney to be his son’s godparent. He painted the tractors on his ranch all black to complement his black horses and black Angus cattle. He does not wear sneakers.
In Ford’s follow-up to his first offering, the now white-and-black coffee-table book (a chromatic reversal from his first book, will just as likely and if not more become a focal point of living rooms and libraries worldwide. In his first book chronologized his years at Gucci, and is seen in the living rooms of everyone from Kim Kardashian to an almost endless array of interiors influencers.
002 is a visual remembrance of the 15 years after Ford left Gucci Group. It delves into his entrance into the fragrance and beauty industries, his return to design, and his entrée into filmmaking. The pages are filled with celebrity moments, lush images, and the unforgettable editorials and advertising campaigns that only Tom Ford himself could do. We all remember the bottle of Black Orchid held between two breasts, as well as Ford, in his signature three-piece suit, buffing the behind of a blond male model twin. Typically sexual for Ford, but injected with humor.
An interview with Bridget Foley spans introspective topics, including how Ford came to terms with his identity after leaving Gucci, his relationship to addiction and sobriety, and how fatherhood has shifted his approach to life and design. Film stills and behind-the-scenes shots from A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals are hand-selected by Ford. It’s honestly the ideal holiday gift to give a very chic person or, frankly, yourself. I’ve personally already ordered three.
HIS PROCESS FOR 002
The reason Ford wanted to do the book was that he “doesn’t look back. I look forward. The moment I turn my back on the runway, I’m thinking about the next collection. What am I going to do? Will I be able to think of something that is good or valid or interesting?”
He started working on the book at a time when his company was 15 and he was turning 60. Tom Ford, like myself, can easily remember everything that was happening to him at that time in his life. “I look at a dress or a piece of menswear or a photograph and think, “Oh yeah, I was living there, I was doing this. That’s why I designed this. This is what was going on in my personal life. This was what was going on in my business life.” … So it was very cathartic and reflective for me.”
In his interviews for the book, he describes how he went through thousands and thousands of images. “I had everyone in my office print them up, so I had boxes and boxes and boxes of pictures. Because while I look at things online, photographs for some reason, I need to see printed out. I just went through them. I did it very fast. Anything that grabbed my eye, I would throw into the pile that made it in.”
His first edit was nearly 1,000 pages long. Then he reduced that to 700, ultimately getting it down to 400. At the end of the process, he says he felt very proud. When he initially was thinking of what he had done in the last 15 years, he pondered it. Then he realized that he’s created his brand and had a child and made two films. Not bad at all, let alone for Tom Ford.
“I’m also the kind of person who likes to file things away and move on, so it was nice to put that 15 years into a slip cover and at age 60 start the next chapter. It was very much a chapter of my life.”
CHANGING TASTES AND PERSPECTIVES
PERCEPTION OF GLAMOUR AND SEX
Mr. Ford states that his taste has gone from a more literal sexuality to more of a sensuality. “But honestly, you get to give the world your taste once, and I did that in the ’90s. My taste hasn’t changed. Yes, times have changed, so my taste has evolved. Things change a little bit. A silhouette will change, a shoulder will change, a skirt length will change, a shoe heel will change. And the way people dress has changed, obviously. I think people dress more today in items, than they did in a head-to-toe look in the ’90s or early 2000s.”
But I think it’s important to be who you are and to be true to yourself. And so, there is definitely a thread that runs through everything I do that hasn’t changed. I think it’s one reason that people still wear my clothes from the ’90s. It’s also what gives a brand its personality.
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
In his interviews for the book, he delves into the topics of his drug and alcohol addictions, with extreme candor. In speaking on the relation of the fashion industry encouraging that kind of abuse, he agrees. As well as that it enables it. Stress he thinks, is one of the extreme root causes. “I think people don’t understand, even people that are in aspects of the fashion industry where you work closely with designers. If you’re not a designer, I really don’t think most people understand the pressure that you’re under.”
Especially with big brands. So much depends on what you manage to produce that particular season. And the fact that you have to produce. Regardless of if you feel creative, not when you feel there’s something new that needs to be said. But on a timeline, and that’s tough. He also touches on how during the period of time where he was an addict, drugs were very present. Many of the people he knew in London who he did a lot of drugs with, are now dead. Some of them are fashion designers, like Lee [Alexander] McQueen. So yes, he believes it to be present and thinks it has something to do with the industry.
Do you get the sense that the same pressure is still present, even after events like the death of McQueen?
Absolutely it is present. It is really present. And I would think for designers who do not own their own brands it’s even more present! Because the revolving doors seem to just be revolving faster. You get a few seasons and if it doesn’t click, if the press doesn’t love you and if the sales don’t go up you’re out! The next one’s in! So, I think the pressure must be incredible. Pressure for him is different because no one is going to fire him. While he needs to succeed as a business, to resonate, to have customers, and it needs to be profitable; he doesn’t have to worry about that any longer.