Tom Ford is like an enigma wrapped in sex wrapped in a beautiful, leopard print dress. He’s an introverted extrovert who knows how to turn it — whatever that may be — on in order to sell things and, according to this latest interview in Interview, he’s also a gay man who, in his own words, lusts after beautiful women. (Not that he wants to “spread [their] legs and f*ck [them],” or anything, but more on that in a moment.)
Now, we love Ford. And what we love most about Ford is, despite his assurances to the contrary, the candor with which he conducts interviews. In this case (and in typical Interview form), Ford was opening up to artist John Currin, a close friend and husband to artist Rachel Feinstein, who modeled in his super-secret debut womenswear show.
Ford is probably most well known for his overtly “sexy” style, with which he revolutionized Gucci and which has now become a staple of his eponymous lines. But how does Ford’s version of sex appeal jive with what some argue is the objectification of women.
FORD: I think I detach the physical from the spiritual. It’s my business to make a woman or a man beautiful, and I’m working with a model in a fitting, and I’ve objectified them to the point that they become an object. They’re something that I’m modeling or shaping or sculpting, but I’m very aware that even though I make them physically beautiful, their soul and personality and character is somewhat detached from that. It’s great when you have a combination of the two— that’s what makes a true beauty. Some people are physically beautiful but yet they’re completely uninteresting, and thus they’re not beautiful. I detach the two. So, no, I don’t have any remorse, because I separate them.
But that doesn’t mean Ford doesn’t feel “lust.” But that is why he thinks gay men make better designers. Case in point:
FORD: That’s why I think gay men make better designers.
FORD: I lust after beautiful women. First of all, I love women. But I lust after beautiful women in the way that I lust after a beautiful piece of sculpture—this will probably get me in trouble—or a beautiful car. I believe everyone’s on a sliding scale of sexuality. There are moments where I am sexually attracted to women. But it doesn’t overpower my first impulse; my lust for them is the same as my lust for beauty in all things. It’s not like I ever think, “Oh, my god, I’ve got to spread her legs and fuck her.”
CURRIN: Isn’t that the sticking point—
FORD: What a well-chosen word. [both laugh]
Touché! As for the female body with regards to society, Ford feels that it’s been unduly overused.
FORD: Someone asked me recently about male nudity, and I brought up the subject that, in our culture, we use female nudity to sell everything. We’re very comfortable objectifying women. Women go out and they are basically wearing nothing. Their feet and toes are exposed, their legs are exposed, their breasts are exposed. Everything is exposed—the neck, the arms. You have to be really physically perfect, as a woman, in our culture to be considered beautiful. But full frontal male nudity challenges us. It makes men nervous. It makes women nervous.
And finally he closes out by calling Monte Carlo “Los Angeles on steroids,” but not before detailing a time he and a journalist conducted an entire interview in the nude. In other words: this is a very worthy read.
Tom Ford [Interview]