Can a movie have a tag of one of the world’s most famous fashion designers? As it turns out, yes. By making his second movie, Tom Ford has proven his strong position in the world of cinema.
"I don't dress amateurs who don't pay attention to details." Tom Ford
Despite the fact that he doesn’t really care for interviews, the fashion world has for many years expressed its love for him and treated him as a guru. His frequently controversial statements are extensively and carefully discussed. Just like his directing success. As the critics say, one good movie by the best director of all fashion designers could have been just a coincidence, but two?
Supposedly, it was his mother who instilled in him the love for fashion and beautiful objects. He got his very first pair of Gucci shoes from her at the age of 12. She herself was a real lady; she used to spoil her son with expensive gifts and taught him to aim high. Now Tom Ford designs highest quality pricey clothes and admits that he would like to dress prince Harry or Barack Obama. He created his own empire – fashion, beauty products, perfumes as well as a very distinct style of juicy advertisements. Tom Ford is an acknowledged institution, and not a very polite one. He laughs that journalists coming to interview him expect naked Kate Moss lying on his desk. Meanwhile, they’re greeted by a modern-time gentleman in an impeccable suit or a snow-white shirt who never lowers the standards of elegance; when reaching out with his hand he always looks straight into the eyes of his speaker and is endearingly polite during interviews. He’s the best ambassador of the brand, and additionally an amazing businessman who is aware of how to manage it successfully and what products will be bestsellers on the market.
He studied art history in NYC, frequented the legendary Andy Warhol’s Studio 54 – in search for his own path that became clear in the 1990s. He achieved enormous success then, when he became the creative director of the declining Gucci Group fashion house, and later when he put the Yves Saint Laurent brand back on track. He created his own, clearly recognizable scandalous style. The woman dressed in his clothes draws all the attention. She’s bold, impeccably elegant and conscious of her power. She is wearing high heels, deep cleavages, and lush lipstick. His erotic photo sessions and advertising campaigns created at that time by photographer Mario Testino and stylist Carine Roitfeld have made history.
It was all Ford’s doing that YSL became a brand not only for the elites. He commercialized it e.g. through a sensational ad campaign for the Opium fragrance starring the naked Sophie Dahl. Despite the fact that brands under his guidance began to generate humongous revenues, Ford didn’t manage to reach an agreement with their owners and disappeared for a while. In 2006, he appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair wearing his own designs and accompanied by nude Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley. He made the world miss him, but he came back with his own brand that he was consistently introducing to the market, starting with eyewear, perfumes, beauty products, and finally clothes.
Tom Ford certainly teaches us how to be perfect and allows us to look our best. At the same time, he bears in mind that quality should win over timelessness, and that the items we buy should last for as long as possible. Similarly, he expects his movie to be so intriguing that the viewer won’t feel the need to play with his or her smartphone. In fashion, he accomplished everything there was to accomplish and admits he loves it, but he wants to find fulfillment in another field. And cinema is precisely the field in which he can prove himself as a true artist.
In 2009 he debuted as the director of the movie “A Single Man” starring Colin Firth as the lead actor. This drama film is based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood who Ford has met in the 1980s. After seven years, he made “Nocturnal Animals” based on the novel by Austin Wright and starring Amy Adams. The film starts when Susan, a gallery owner in New York, receives the manuscript for
a novel penned by her ex-husband. She begins to read it and from this moment the plot is oscillating between the sterile life of Hollywood’s elites and a chaotic, brutal reality of Western Texas. Tom Ford shows his directorial talent in many ways, but the seemingly breakneck combination of these two opposing worlds is a masterpiece. The story read by Susan pushes her to unwantedly confront her old decisions and forgotten memories.
The theme of recollection, memories, dwelling on the past and creating images devoid of all the things we’d rather forget was also present in his first drama feature. “A Single Man” is a perfectly stylized image of America of the 1960s. as filtered through the eye of a fashion designer. Flashbacks of memories, just like in “Nocturnal Animals, create an image which is intensively marked with how the reality is recorded in the mind of an individual. Critics were enthusiastic about both his films and it seems that the director will not rest on that. He recalls being told a Chinese proverb saying that we should leave things undone because our life ends the very moment we finish our work. You die when you achieve your goals. That is why Tom Ford never considers anything he’s created as perfect. There’s still a lot to be done ahead of him.
Julian Moore i Colin Firth „Samotny mężczyzna”, 2009. (fot. materiały prasowe/press materials)