From The Archive: Derek Blasberg’s Love Letter To Tom Ford
Dear Tom Ford,
Now, don’t take this the wrong way: I think I’m in love you. Before you get all weird and avoid me the next time I see you, though, just hear me out. I promise this isn’t just another another one of your average stalker letters. (Out of curiosity, how many of those you have gotten now? I bet a ton.) I’m not living in some fantasy world where I think you love me back and we’ll drop everything one day and live happily ever after on our big New Mexico ranch, both topless and driving black tractors and bear-backing big, sweaty black stallions. No, no, I’m still in the land of the sane. But I think it’s time I made my feelings known in this, an open love letter to you, Tom. To us, actually. To our future together.
I have a confession: when I came and visited in your office last fall after your film’s LA premiere, I didn’t just happen to be wearing those leopard skin boxer shorts you liked by lucky coincidence. I know I acted like I was shocked when you pointed them out, but that’s a total crock of shit: I wore them so you would notice. Of course I did. It was a cheap attempt at attention, and looking back, I think you felt something. There was definitely something in the room at that moment, and it wasn’t just the smell of Black Orchid.
Same thing with the rest of the look: even though I claimed I had just thrown on those white jeans and that lemon green degrade cardigan, it was posed nonchalance. I can’t help it: getting dressed to see you is what I imagine bishops feel like when they get dressed to see the pope. Sure, they have all these robes and sparkly tassles and things, but they know that when they come up to the Pope’s altar his hat will always be the biggest. Same thing with you: whenever I tithe at your alter, your hat is always bigger than mine, your suits are always more chic. Not that it stops me from trying to seduce you, the ultimate seducer.
This is something you’re very aware of, I’m sure: you’re just so damn amiable. And my, oh my, how it’s worked on me these past few years! (Now that I think of it, you have no one to blame for my Ford obsession than yourself, mister. Seduce me and this is what you get: crazy love letters!)
When you opened the first Tom Ford store in New York I got the chance – nay, the honor – to interview you. This was our first time, Tom, and I will always remember my first time. I had walked into that interview really wanting to find a fault in you, or your façade, or the store, or something. Anything! You had left the whole world wanting more when you walked out of Gucci, and I didn’t want to be just another one of these Fordaloonies who thinks everything you touch turns to gold.
That is, of course, until you touched me. Then I was just another Tom convert.
I remember during our interview, one of my questions was, ‘After your sexy 1990s, what you do you think sexy means now?’ And with your wink and a smile, you caressed my bowtie (fine, you just pointed to it) and cooed, “I think bowties can be sexy, Derek.” My goodness, the hormones were on fire, Tom! Throw me against the Lalanne sculpture in the lobby and have your way with me!
Looking back, I’m sure that’s what you do with all the writers that visit you at your store, and that’s fine. I can share you. I’m sure if I had come in wearing clogs you would have told me that Dutch footwear is the sexiest thing a man can put on in the morning; or if I had been wearing this big Mexican sombrero that my friends had given me at a “Fiesta” themed birthday party the week before, you would have looked me dead straight in the eye and told me that there’s nothing sexier than a man in a giant straw sombrero with sequins and velvet balls hanging from the brim.
Anyway! Back to our most recent meeting in LA, when you took me into your dark, plush, two way mirror-protected office on Sunset: I so definitely felt something. And I think you did too. When you were talking about the film, and about the plight of the gay man and casting Colin Firth: it was like you were speaking to my soul, Tom. I was open and you were open and we were just opening up to each other, and my mother always said that the best relationships are open ones.
I can remember you told me of moving to LA to be an actor, of reading gay literature like Christohper Isherwood’s story, which was ultimately the basis for your movie A Single Man. I know you said that you had been doing loads of interviews for the film, and had been talking about it all over the world in the weeks before, but I’m sure what you told me was confidant and private. That wasn’t just some PR song and dance rehearsed skit, was it? I know the real TF. You even confided in me that once, when you were a young man, you had a bad mescaline trip and shaved off one of your eyebrows in an imagined fit of terrorist facial hair. You trusted me with that story, Tom, and my mom also says that relationships should be built on trust. I haven’t told anyone that story, and I promise I never will.
Now that I think about it, you’re like my George Falconer from your film! Well, in the handsome older gentleman sense (but not that much older, of course. With your regimented and no doubt specific beauty routine, you don’t like two days over 29.) Not that I think you’re suicidal or anything. No. My comparison to Colin is only physical – which is what’s most important, right? You’re so handsome and meticulous. Wait, I love this analogy: because this would make me Nicolas Hoult! Hmmmm, Nicolas Hoult. (That reminds me: after I finish this love letter to you, I have to write one to him.)
This was my favorite part of my chat in your office: when we compared your life to a fancy lacquered box, and how your film was one of the few times when you let people see what’s beneath your shiny outside. “Now I’d like to close that box again,” you told me. “I feel more comfortable opening it in a project rather than in real life,except for a small group of people.”
Another thing we talked about was your calmness under fire, the control of your emotions. (Which is something, as evidenced by this little love letter, I don’t have.) You’ve had some high stress situations in your career: the stress of success, and every season appeasing the critics. The stress of leaving a big job and starting over with your own company. And I can’t imagine that all the naysayers about a fashion designer doing a feature film was too pleasant. But still, there you were, handsome as ever.
I love seeing you in a tuxedo. You look so handsome. Every time I see you in one I think of our wedding: Madonna would be your maid of honor and Elizabeth Saltzman would be our wedding planner and Tim Jeffries would be your best man. But before I marry you, Tom, we’re going to have to talk about your schedule. What’s this about you wanted to launch womenswear? Won’t you be stretched a little too thin now? Sure, I know you have a bunch of wonderful people who work with you (Hi Peter, Hi Whitney! How are the babies?) But what about the menswear? What about the movies? What about ME? What about our imaginary courtship? I hope I’m not just wasting my time with this letter. I hope you’re not too busy to even read it!
OK, Tom, I guess that’s it for now. I hope I haven’t scared you off. You told me you know how fashion people have these bad reputations for being cold and distant and shallow, so this is me letting you in my lacquered box. (Which sounds more sexual than I intended it to. And let’s be honest: my box isn’t lacquered either. I’ve got a beat up leather tote bag, not a box.) I’ll always forget one of the last things you told me in LA: “I only show people a certain part of my life. But that’s because I’m shy! Which nobody believes, but it’s true: I am extremely shy.” Don’t be shy anymore, Tom. You can confide in me. That’s what husbands are for.
Your’s in Fashion Love (which the most important kind of love there is),
Derek Charles Blasberg
P.S. This letter was written with all due respect to the amazing Richard Buckley (Mr. Ford’s actual BF) and the wonderful Lyle Maltz (who is mine)
Taken from Issue 22 of 10 Men, Spring Summer 2010