Tom Ford is the New Chairman of CFDA – Here’s An Interview With the Designer From Issue 26 of 10 Magazine
This is a new era of American fashion. As announced yesterday, Tom Ford has been voted the new chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, succeeding Diane von Furstenberg in the role. And if someone had to succeed the queen of American fashion, no one could do it better than Mister Ford himself. A man of international fame and a global point-of-view, his take on the business of fashion is imperative in today’s world. Celebrating this great new moment in the world, we throw it back to 2011 when we interviewed the new CFDA chairman for Issue 26.
10: First job in fashion?
Tom Ford: A summer internship in the press department at Chloé in 1984.
10: What’s new?
TF: Certainly not that question.
10: How did you get started?
TF: Well, every morning I have a good deal of caffeine. That usually gets me started. That and a wake-up lick from the dogs usually gets me up and going.
10: What does it take to get to the top of the tree?
TF: Work, work, and more work Staying there is harder. The branches are thinner and more delicate near the top.
10: Fashion is…
TF: Something that can make one dream and elevate our experiences to a new level, but basically it is just clothes.
10: Do you ever wear your own designs?
TF: I only wear my own designs.
10: What inspires you?
TF: My life. I keep my eyes open and try to appreciate everything around me. I think that one can find beauty in everything if one is open to readjusting their perceptions and preconceptions.
10: Fashion is…
TF: We did that one.
10: How important are hemlines?
TF: Not. What year is this?
10: Can you multitask?
TF: If you mean can I talk on a cellphone while having a meeting and sketching, then no. I am a terrible micro multitasker but I am a great macro multitasker. I am always working on 20 things at once and I love that, but when I sit down to sketch, I only sketch. I can’t talk while I am doing it, I can’t be disturbed, and I become so focused that everything else disappears. I don’t even allow my staff to call me on my cellphone as I become distracted thinking that they are doing something else while I am talking to them.
10: What would you like as your epitaph?
TF: I don’t want an epitaph, or a funeral, or a grave. I would simply like to not be here one day. Disappear. Gone…
10: Are you only as good as your last collection?
TF: No. I think that if you are good you are good.
10: Are you/were you a juvenile delinquent?
TF: I don’t know. Does having a lot of sex at 14, getting your girlfriend pregnant twice, being drunk or high most of the time in and out of school count? Somehow though, I managed to get perfect grades, charm my teachers and my hair rivalled Farrah’s for shininess.
10: Are you a smoky somethin’?
TF: Well, I don’t smoke anymore, but I suppose I have a penchant for smokey eyes on most girls…
10: Do you get jealous of other designers?
TF: Never. It is such a difficult business. I admire anyone who can make it and stay there.
10: Do you get recognised on the street? Do you have/have you ever had a stalker?
TF: Yes and yes.
10: Have you ever thrown a diva strop?
TF: Only with Richard.
10: What do you think about the way most people dress?
TF: Most people don’t dress. I’m not really sure what one should call it…
10: Was there a particular point when you started to get ambitious?
TF: I was always ambitious. It’s funny, in Europe that is considered a crass thing, but in America, where I grew up, it is a virtue.
10: Have you always been all about fashion?
TF: I am not now, nor have I ever been ‘all’ about fashion.
10: Are you a legend? Legendary?
TF: Who knows? I don’t really think about things like that. I would certainly not be caught dead in a Blackglama mink coat, though…
10: Dallas or Dynasty? Sue Ellen or Alexis?
10: Have you ever lied in an interview?
TF: Isn’t that what they are for?
10: Do you have a mentor? A muse? Who/what are they?
TF: Carine Roitfeld, just like the entire fashion industry…
10: Are you a believer in healthy competition?
10: What did you have for dinner last night?
TF: Salmon, steamed spinach, sorbet.
10: How many licks does it take to get to the centre of it?
TF: That depends on what you’re licking.
10: Can you wrap your legs around your neck like Janice Dickinson?
TF: Actually, yes.
10: If you could be a superhero, which one would you be and why?
TF: Is there a superhero that is a vampire? I have always wanted to be a vampire. Actually, I am a bit of a vampire…
10: What is good design?
TF: Good design can be different things, depending on what one is designing. I think that good design is when one solves the problem at hand in a thoughtful and functional way.
10: Do you remember your first dress? Show?
TF: I have never worn a dress…
10: What’s vulgar?
TF: People have no regard for others.
10: Have you ever banned anyone from your show because of a bad review? Would you?
TF: No and that depends.
10: How pretentious are you on a scale of 1-10?
TF: You will not believe me but I think that I am of the least pretentious people that I know. I would say a three.
Interview taken from Issue 26 of Ten Magazine. Photograph by Jeff Burton.