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Tom Ford: “I am really a loner after all”

July 20, 2011

Mr. Ford, have you had a midlife crisis?

Yes. Leaving Gucci was devastating for me. Devastating because I had really put everything into that for fifteen years and all of a sudden I had no identity. “Who am I? What am I doing? I have no forum to speak to anyone anymore or to convey my thoughts or ideas.” Maybe I drank a little too much – living in London that’s a very easy thing to do. The emphasis in my life maybe switched to things that were not the important things. So yeah, I had a bit of a midlife crisis. I wish there was a better term for that. It comes to everybody, maybe in your thirties, maybe in your forties, maybe in your sixties or seventies, who knows. You get to the moment where you feel the clock is ticking and you are wondering if you are really getting the most out of your life.

If you have everything in life it is easier to lose yourself, it seems.

And if you do have everything it is also easier to understand that those are not the important things. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t get to that point. They spend their lives striving and still don’t learn those lessons. Other people figure it out at age twenty and they’re completely balanced and together and understand how to keep things in check from an early age.

How would you describe your current state of mind?

I feel that I don’t need anything for a good life. I grew up in New Mexico and the older I get I have less need for contemporary culture and big cities and all the stuff we are bombarded with. I am happier at my ranch in the middle of nowhere watching a bug carry leaves across the grass, listening to silence, riding my horse, and being in open space. So I have some sort of security that if I lost everything in my life, I would be very happy with the simple things because they are the ones that are important.

So the glamour you stand for doesn’t interest you?

After just being in New Mexico for two months, I realized that I could really work from anywhere. I am really a loner after all; I am really not a social person. Because of my job people think I am out every night, but I really hate all that. I am somebody who likes to be alone and see some close friends. I am a shy and introspective person.

Do you get the most inspiration from nature? It is the ultimate beauty, after all.

Yes, nature is the closest thing to God and I don’t mean God by any sort of religion but by the connection to the universe, which I think we have lost. The American Indians had that and where I live is actually the center of the Anasazi Indian civilization. I even have two huge Anasazi ruins on the property of my ranch. I am not saying that there definitely is some sort of spirituality coming from there, but there might be. When you are close to the earth and you get up when the sun comes up and you go to sleep when it goes down, it puts everything in perspective.

Really?

Yes, all the rest of this crap just fades away. We’ve lost our contact with the earth. Dogs don’t have guilt, dogs don’t have insecurity complexes, dogs don’t think that they need a bigger house than the other dog. Dogs are just completely themselves. They’re very in touch, they’re not thinking about their death. They are just rolling on their back, enjoying what that feels like. I think that is sort of the appeal of animals in our lives; that is what’s important.

Are you a spiritual person?

I am a spiritual person in an eastern religion kind of way. I learned that happiness for all of us is a switch that you flick in your brain. It doesn’t have anything to do with getting a new house, a new car, a new girlfriend, or a new pair of shoes. Our culture is very much about that; we are never happy with what we have today. We always think that we need something else to be happy.

This all sounds like you have a tough time living the Hollywood life that everybody expects you to.

I did have a tough time dealing with it and I have learned how to separate it. It is a performance; it is me playing a role. I am not saying that there are no aspects of it that I enjoy; I love beautiful women, beautiful dresses, and beautiful flowers. But all those things have to stay in perspective. There is nothing wrong with loving the fact that we are physical beings but you have got to keep them in perspective. It is just a diversion. It’s one of the nice things in life, like eating a great steak or kissing a good kisser – well, kissing a good kisser is maybe more valuable than all the other stuff – but these are things you have to leave behind when you leave the planet. When I am on my deathbed, I don’t think I will be thinking about a nice pair of shoes I had or my beautiful house. I am going to be thinking about an evening I spent with somebody when I was twenty where I felt that I was just absolutely connected to them.

Are you really that much of a romantic?

Yeah, I’m really a romantic.

How long does it take every morning for you to become that Tom Ford you were talking about before?

It takes me a long time in the morning to become the person that other people expect me to be. When I feel depressed and I have a bad day or something terrible has happened or I have to face something, I go through a very precise ritual getting dressed in the morning. In a sense it is armor; I’m building up a layer. If everything in my material world is in order, I will be able to get through it. That perfectionism comes from me being a Virgo. My inner world is related to my outer world. If my house is a wreck, I’m a wreck. If I am together, that’s together. That’s a kind of balance.

For many years you’ve shared your life with your boyfriend Richard Buckley. Is he your idea of a good life?

Richard is the person I love the most in the world and the person I have been together with for 23 years. So yes, but so are my dogs. I’ve asked myself, “If I were to die tomorrow what are the things that I will remember?” and I realized that nuzzling up with one of my dogs is one of the most precious things in my life! That would be something I would miss so much.

It must be important to have somebody that goes with you through that whole journey of life, somebody that shows you that it is not about the next fashion show or advertisement you shoot.

Of course it is. I am still friends with the people I went to school with. A lot of them have been working with me for the past 18 years. When you find somebody good, keep them! Keep them in your life.

Do you especially treasure the people you are close to because it is difficult for you to meet new people?

Honestly, I don’t meet very many people. I am married but no one comes on to me, ever. It is like I don’t exist sexually. No one, no one.

You are Tom Ford after all, so people probably think they don’t have a chance anyways.

Maybe that is the reason, but no one, no one flirts, no one comes on to me. Usually when people are personal with me, then they want to give me their business card at the end of the conversation.

So you wish you would get hit on more often?

Of course! (Laughs) Why not? I am not saying I would act on it, but it would be nice.

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Short Profile

Name: Thomas Carlyle Ford
DOB: 27 August 1961
Place of Birth: Austin, Texas, USA
Occupation: Designer

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27 Responses to this Interview

  1. antonio t costa

    i would like to meet Mr Ford one day…oh yes

  2. Great conversation. Ford is a wise man and great artist.

  3. I’ll flirt with you, Tom! I don’t even care that you’re gay;)

  4. I’d hit on Tom Ford! I don’t even care that I’m NOT gay ;)

  5. Lovely interview and a romantic indeed. I sobbed my way through A Single Man, struck by the attention to small beauties this Director gave. Thank you Tom.

  6. I identified myself so much with Mr Ford…I AM Mr Ford…only female.

  7. Mr. Ford is an acomplished designer and an amazing director, that goes without saying. I find amusing, however, how full of himself he is.

  8. Where do we line up to flirt with Tom? He always seems so thoughtful it is hard to believe he is Tom Ford!

  9. I’ll flirt with you too!
    And I don’t own business cards.

  10. keep ‘em coming, such excellent interviews. And Tom Ford sounds awesome.

  11. I have always viewed Tom Ford in a different way! being a designer myself based on the west coast! I stereotyped him just like the rest of those design magnates but thank you for this interview! He is just like everyone else! “Human” and sensitive to what really matters in Life! He did not let success and achievement rule his life! but rather learned from it and compare what really matters! and what life is all about!

  12. I am a huge fan of Tom Ford, and read the same thing in all of his interviews… that he ‘plays a role’ in public. His public persona is not the real him. If this is the case, why would this interview be any different. Talk of dogs, horses, bugs, and Native Americans. Is this all part of his public persona? Intended to contradict everything we’d expect from him?

  13. Tom, next time I see you , I’ll hit on you!

  14. tom ford is one of the most talented designer, he is smart, creative and an amazing film director,
    as a designer my self i find him one of a kind.
    he is very sexy too……

  15. So insightful and beautifully written! Thank-you Mr. Ford for sharing….and where do I get into the lineup to flirt. So Damn Cute.

  16. I miss my dog even more after I read it. This is what is so true about friendship between humans and dogs, who are the only true friends…

  17. a very handsome man,a non weird fashion designer,brilliant intellect-i only wish him happiness and freedom from oscillating from depression to bliss

  18. You have got to be kidding me, this guy sells his glasses for 500 bucks and wants to talk about how in tune with nature he is and how the material world doesnt mater to him? What a joke. I’m sure your dog looks at your anasazi ruins and thinks what a phony you are.

  19. I am bored by this “Oh, I am so zen, I get my kicks from watching bugs crawl”. Yves St Laurent did not find the need to justify his life, neither did Christian Dior. No need to apologise for the way you want to live. No need to tell people (being defensive, Tom?) how you actually like to live alone in the wilds of no where. Just live, Tom.

  20. Awesome interview felt like i was interviewing my self

    • i went to a party one evening and someone was clearing my place and taking away all that I had finished with. I looked up and it was Tom Ford. Such a truly wonderful and down to earth man. Yeah, I would hit on you even though I know you are gay.

  21. Sounds like a very down to earth human. Thanks Mr Ford and thanks for the interview.

  22. Tom Ford is definitely very relatable and likable. Personally, I can’t say this about too many other people. For someone who’s in the fashion industry and in that position, he really is inspiring. Not knowing much, most people would probably expect him to be some sort of narcissistic jackass who’s too oblivious and busy counting bills to be as thoughtful or as considerate as he is.

  23. Ugh.. i was walking down 5th ave one day about 5 years ago and I walked right into tom ford.. I was so awstruck that I couldn’t say anything but.. Thanks for revamping Gucci.. he smiled and said thank you for liking it… and then walked on.. if only I had knew.. I’d hit on him.. lol..

  24. Pure inspiration and so happy that Tom shared his honest views on life, himself…Very touched…

  25. I had the pleasure to meet him many years ago and must say, what a great, handsome and charming man that is! While everyone else was complimenting him for his work, I stood beside him thinking, if I would ever get the chance to talk to him longer, my first question would be “How does it feel to be loved by everyone?” – in the sense of how boring that must be. I had a feeling that he might have appreciated it. Reading the interview, I believe he would have, indeed.

  26. Very well spoken interview, balanced and relaxed, a place where most good things come from. He gets across the point that being a loner isn’t such a bad thing after all, in fact it’s a marvellous place to be, free and open, and Tom thank you for bringing style into so many peoples lives and vision !

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