Tom Ford Tells All
BY Advocate Contributors
November 09 2009 8:00 AM ET
“I don’t think of myself as gay. That doesn’t mean that I’m not gay. I just don’t define myself by my sexuality,” says Tom Ford with no sense of irony in his voice. Ford built a fashion empire at Gucci. When Yves Saint Laurent was acquired by Gucci in 1999, he reinvented that brand. Since then he has launched his own Tom Ford line of menswear and accessories. Always, throughout his career, whole collections and marketing campaigns were designed around his highly honed sense of the needs of others to define themselves as sexual beings.
“The gay aspect of A Single Man certainly wasn’t what drew me to make a film of the Christopher Isherwood book. It was its human aspect, that unifying quality,” he continues, segueing into a discussion of his remarkable directorial debut. The film, which was nominated for the Golden Lion top prize at the Venice film festival, and for which Ford won Venice’s Queer Lion prize and Colin Firth the best actor award, opens in limited release December 11.
“If you said name 10 things that define me, being gay wouldn’t make the list. I think Isherwood was like that too. There are many gay characters in his works because his work is so autobiographical, but their gayness isn’t the focus. The one thing I liked about Isherwood’s work—especially when I was younger and grappling with my sexuality—is that there was no issue about it in his writing. That was quite a modern concept back during the time when he was writing. Quite honestly, I just don’t think about my sexuality. But maybe this has to do with being a part of the first generation to benefit from all the struggles of the gay men and lesbians that came before us.”
Ford is lounging on a plush sofa in the upstairs inner sanctum of his eponymous store on Manhattan’s Madison Avenue. The sofa is a shade of gray that matches the lighter gray of his shirt and the darker gray of his trousers. His closely cropped hair is not gray—a decision that seems more his than his hair’s. I have known Ford for close to 30 years, since we were both slightly more than boys making our way in New York City. He was one of the city’s great beauties back then—much more beautiful than any of the bartenders at Studio 54, where we first learned to lounge on plush sofas together—and he is still, at 48, remarkably handsome. His forehead is also remarkably unlined. Does he use Botox?
“Of course I do,” he readily admits, a brash honesty having always been one of his most endearing traits. “Usually I’m not even able to frown, but my last injections are wearing off a bit and I am able to frown right now. I’d never get a full face-lift, though. Face-lifts on men are a disaster. But I’m a firm believer in Botox and Restylane. Absolutely. Why not?”