Tom Ford Thinks About Death Constantly
And 9 other takeaways from his revealing profile in The Hollywood Reporter.
BY Scott Christian | Sep 8, 2016 | Fashion
With a new feature film currently making the rounds on the festival circuit—Nocturnal Animals, which debuted on Sept 2 at the Venice Film Festival, and is also set to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival—and a new "see now/buy now" collection about to debut, Tom Ford is still the busiest man in fashion.
And yet, somehow, the designer/director/fashion-empire-builder still found time to sit down for a long and revealing interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where he spoke on materialism, modern celebrity, and his place in the fashion firmament, among other things. Here are some of the highlights:
Ford feels that the rampant materialism of our culture is hollowing us out. Speaking about the character Susan from Nocturnal Animals, he says:
"She's someone who has material things but realises—maybe this happened to me seven or eight years ago—those aren't the things that are important. She is struggling with the world that I live in: the world of absurd rich [people], the hollowness and emptiness I perceive in our culture."
He then goes on to say:
"[Life] can be an endless, unfulfilling quest for some sort of happiness that is elusive. Because the whole concept of happiness as peddled by our culture doesn't exist. Nobody lives happily ever after. If you buy this and do that and build this house, you're not going to be happy. Life is happy, sad, tragic, joyful. But that's not what we're taught, that's not what our culture pounds into our heads."
Ford also revealed that he's struggled with depression since he was a child:
"I can remember early thoughts of suicide at 8 or 9 years old. Those things are often hereditary—people in my family have had that—as is alcoholism, and that's also something I've dealt with."
And though he's much happier now, he does say that death is all he thinks about:
"There is not a day or really an hour that goes by that I don't think about death. I think you are born a certain way. I think you just come out that way."
Ford with his 'Nocturnal Animals' star Amy Adams.
One thing that keeps his depression in check is that he stopped drinking several years ago:
"That's a very big factor of my life, fighting against that. It's quite under control now. I don't drink—that's an enormous factor. And I am fairly grounded. I have a wonderful family life. I exercise, I play tennis every day, all those little things."
Before working in fashion, Ford wanted to be a movie star. At least until he discovered that he hated acting:
"I was super-self-conscious, which hasn't changed. I can't stand having my picture taken. I'm extremely shy, which isn't something [people would expect]."
He launched his namesake brand mostly because he was afraid that he'd never get financing for his first film, A Single Man:
"I panicked," he says, explaining how eventually, in 2006, he decided to return to the fashion business with his Tom Ford line. "I thought, 'I'm established and well-known as a fashion designer.' I'm very practical."
There is not a day or really an hour that goes by that I don't think about death.
Ford considers himself a commercial designer rather than an artist:
"There are fashion designers who are true artists. Alexander McQueen was one. I think in some ways Riccardo Tisci is one at Givenchy. Miuccia Prada I love, as well. [But] I think perhaps I'm too cynical to be a true artist."
He also speaks as if his best work in fashion is in the past:
"I had a run of 10 years from 1994 to 2004 where I was one of the driving influences in fashion. But I've moved into a different phase where I have a different kind of influence. I am very innovative now, I think, in the way I approach the business. Perhaps that's more innovative than the kinds of clothes I make."
Though his face is everywhere, he's uncomfortable with celebrity:
"We all sell an image of ourselves, and I trade on my image. It's on ads and billboards, and it's public. But the more famous you get, I think, the more self-conscious you become. Because the disparity between who people think you are and who you really are becomes broader."
From: Esquire US