Flirting With Film
“It was like a divorce. I was bereft,” Ford said of parting with his home of 14 years...
...So when he announced his intention to move into filmmaking, many viewed it with scepticism. This is a rebound thing, right? What the hell did Tom Ford know about directing?
Quite a lot, as it happens. After all, as Ford helpfully pointed out, "They are similar in some ways—both are smoke and mirror worlds."
That was no idle comparison. During his Gucci heyday, Ford's collections were often inspired by Hollywood glamour, Ford watching classic movies to capture their timeless ambience.
And he oversaw advertising and store design as well as clothing, keeping control of the brand’s visual aesthetic to an unprecedented degree.
Whether that meant hiring porn stars for a photoshoot – “we paid for them to have sex on set. You don't see it in the shot, but you feel it” – or hiring someone exclusively to tend to the bonsai trees in his flagship store, there’s an exactitude and innovation worthy closer to Kubrick than Chloé.
An astute judge of talent, here was a casting director who could count Stella McCartney and the late Alexander McQueen amongst his protégés. Yet the biggest star was Tom Ford himself, indecently handsome, effortlessly cool and preternaturally aware of his image.
He learned his lesson the hard way, hating his early experiences as an actor. "I did not like having to read a line the way a director told me to when I thought it was stupid," he told The Guardian in 2008. "Or not being able to rewrite the line myself."
No such problems now he was directing his own performance. "My image is a tool," he admitted to The Daily Telegraph recently. "I look at it as ruthlessly as I look at a picture in an ad - that’s wrong, that’s wrong. I realise its selling power and its potential - the brand personified. But it’s not me..."
It didn’t hurt that Ford had first hand experience of the A-list; his branded sunglasses are the choice of everyone from Jolie to J-Lo.
Notoreity - and our eternal envy - followed when, guest editing Vogue in 2006, he ended up an inadvertent cover star alongside nekkid Keira Knightley and Scarlet Johansen after the original third model, Rachel McAdams, refused to disrobe.
He appeared on-screen – as himself, natch – in Zoolander, but his biggest credit was as “tailor” on Quantum of Solace, a rather dull way of saying that he provided the suits that sexed up Daniel Craig even when 007 wasn't stripped to his boxers.
"A lot of people think if you wear classic clothes you're dull. Bond dresses that way, but he does not lead a dull life - not sexually and not in his career. And with Daniel, you have someone who looks classic but leads a very exciting life."
Ford was getting closer to his dream. The one thing missing was a project of his own to prove his mettle...
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