Just met Prince Charles. Charming, jolly fellow. Tom Ford suggested (to him, mind you) a new cuticle cream. Its official: I’m a royalist now
How exactly did that happen? Ford shook the Prince’s hand, noted his cuticles were dry, then tactfully suggested the cream? Dying here. Anyway, the designer sat down with Grazia‘s style director Paula Reed in London for a chat, and as usual, he was pretty charming and open. Despite having just heard his entire life story when he sparred with Fern Mallis a few weeks ago, we still learned some more about his career and as usual, we love how entertaining he is. From Americans’ crappy style to the power of tight pants, Tom Ford keeps it real. Click through to read the highlights and here to read the whole thing.
• On how he makes people nervous:
Occasionally when I have someone in for an interview, a young student or someone who I’m interviewing for a new position, and I see their hand shake I realize that oh maybe I have this effect on people.
• On how wearing tight Calvin Klein jeans helped his career:
I arrived in an Armani jacket, Calvin Klein jeans and cowboy boots because I’d been reading GQ in 1997 and that was the look. And I was prepared for New York! Calvin Klein jeans although they were very chic at the time were maybe a bit tight. That helped my career too, the fact they were a little tight…
• On talent versus hard work:
There are many designers who have much greater talent as a designer than I do but they may not have my drive, they may not work as hard, they may not have the focus, the desire… You have to have a talent because at the end of the day if the pants you design don’t make someone’s butt look great they’re not going to buy them.
• On being affected by bad reviews:
Because often a bad review is right and those hurt in a different way because you know in your heart what you’re reading is right. You’re quite raw because they come out the day or two days after what you’ve done when you haven’t been able to recover from it.
• On turning 50 and prioritizing his time:
I turned 50 this year and not that that’s old but I really did change my way of thinking… If someone invites me to dinner, and I think ‘God, do I really want to spend one of the thousands of dinners I have left in my life having dinner with this person?’ Then I say, ‘Oh gosh, I can’t.’
• On why London has more style than New York:
London is a place where eccentricity and individuality in clothing in particular is admired, and is respected…. Americans are afraid of style. You know, remember America was founded by the Puritans who fled the UK. They were very stern and strict, and too much style in America is considered a bad thing. That’s changing, you know, now it’s totally different really. Globally, we’re unfortunately seeing a breast implant style that’s taking over the world.
• On why runway shows aren’t good for showcasing clothes:
[W]hen you do a runway show you have to amp things up in a way so that they read from a great distance – so that they are designed for photography rather than for a consumer. So you can exaggerate things to the point where they don’t actually function in real life for most peoples’ lives. And what I wanted to do was create clothes for real people. I think that’s one reason why so many people in the world have switched off of fashion. They look at it as a spectator sport. They wanna see what everyone is wearing and how it looks, but then they put on their t-shirt and their jeans.
• On wearing shorts:
When I’m in the country, I wear a T-shirt and jeans. If I’m going to the beach, I wear shorts, you know! There’s an appropriate thing.
• On being an attractive part of the scenery:
[I]f I’m going out in the world, I should make everything look as good as it can by looking my best, it’s a show of respect. Maybe a lot of you are thinking ‘oh he’s so full of it’, but this is how I feel, is that it’s a show of respect… um, to other people who have to look at you! You should try to look as good as you can look and help make the scenery look good.