As part of 92nd Street Y’s Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis series, Tom Ford—the designer of Daniel Craig’s suits in Quantum of Solace and the next Bond film Skyfall—spoke about his personal and professional life in a sold-out talk with moderator Fern Mallis—best known as the creator of New York’s Fashion Week. 92nd Street Y is a world-class cultural institution in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and its Fashion Icons series has already featured great designers including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. Ford talked a little about his clothes, but he gave more insight into his personal life and tastes that reflects the clothes we see in his collection now.
Ford wore his usual dark charcoal grey button two suit with wide peak lapels. The suit had the shoulders typically seen on his recent suits, with no padding but plenty of stiff canvassing to give them a natural but clean line, along with roped sleeve heads. The suit also had a single vent and straight pocket with large flaps, including a ticket pocket. Four visible buttons on the cuffs finished the sleeves, and most likely there was a fifth unbuttoned at the end. Though his jacket covered the top of his trousers, a fullness through the leg suggest they have double forward pleats like in his latest collection. His white shirt had a pinned collar and double cuffs. He wore a solid black tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot, and a reverse-puffed black-and-white-patterned pocket square. The shoes were black chelsea boots. Overall his style was similar to what James Bond would wear, combined with Classic Hollywood, and everything fit him superbly.
Ford’s interest in dressing well started as a child in the 1960s, when he wore suits and carried a briefcase to school because he thought a book bag looked messy. And because of his different choices he was picked on and beaten by other students. “The first case of bullying for having too much style,” Mallis commented.
Tom Ford is unique amongst fashion designers because, as he said, he is focused on “making a product that was about quality.” He said, “I’m a practical, commercial fashion designer” and “always designed jackets with two sleeves.” Fashion is not an art for him, and he mentioned the most commercial things about his clothes are surprisingly their highest quality and highest price. But people are interested in quality and are willing to pay for it. He started the Tom Ford line because he didn’t like what he found when he went shopping, so he designed what he wanted to wear and figured others were looking for the same thing. And for those looking for the best quality as well as an innovative twist on classic style, Tom Ford delivers.
Ford is not interested in doing an “H&M colection” and said he’s only interested in “the best stitching, the best fabric, the best quality, and that’s what excites me.” Details also interest Ford: “Not everyone cares that their buttonholes open. It drives me crazy if my buttonholes don’t open.” Ford called himself a perfectionist. But when asked if he cared that most people can’t afford to buy his clothes, Ford said “you don’t have to wear designer clothes to have style” and mentioned if you want to wear something more affordable from his collection you can buy a pair of his sunglasses.
For much of the evening Tom Ford talked about things beyond fashion, such as his penchant for taking four to five baths a day and walking around the house mostly naked. He’s no longer interested in living in New York City or any city because there’s too much stimulation. Said Ford, “I had to leave New York to find out who I was as a designer.” Though he spends much of his time on his ranch outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, his predominately grey collections are most at home in the city.
You can see a clip from the event below:
You can find more about the Tom Ford event at 92nd Street Y’s Tumblr page.