March 22, 2012

Tom Ford for Achtung: About Style, Fashion And What It Takes To Be Sexy

For its second edition, Achtung magazine, published in France, England, USA, Japan, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, features an exclusive interview with designer Tom Ford, in which he talks about his company, what it takes to be sexy and the ultimate pieces of advice that make a person stylish.

Achtung: Where do you see your brand at the moment?

Tom Ford: I see TOM FORD as the first true luxury brand of the 21st Century. We currently have over 60 free-standing TOM FORD stores around the world with many more positioned to open this year. I find this quite amazing considering that I have only just shown my 3rd women’s collection under my own label. We now sell almost all product categories for women and men including eyewear, fragrances and my recent launch of TOM FORD BEAUTY, a complete line of cosmetics for women. I have many more exciting launches over the next few years, but can’t say any more than that at this time.

Achtung: In the advert of “Tom Ford Beauty” one can see yourself and Lara Stone. Are you the best reflection of your own label?

Tom Ford: I learned very early on with my own brand that it is important for the consumer to have a face and an image with a brand name if they are going to buy into a certain lifestyle. I have always been my own muse for my menswear collection and I appear in my women’s beauty ads to as the woman in the ad represents my ideal female beauty standard.

Achtung: Is sex getting unsexy?

Tom Ford:
Right now, I think that having fun is sexy. My most recent ad campaigns feature both the male and female models laughing. They look adorable and irresistible at the same time which, to me, feels sexy and fresh.

Achtung: Would you still do the Gucci advert with the “G” pubic hair the same way today?

Tom Ford: As I mentioned previously, there is a time and place for everything. The Gucci ad with the “G” shaved into the models pubic hair was a reaction to the logo-mania that was so prevalent at the time. So, to answer your question, I would not create the same ad in 2012 as it does not have the relevance that it did when I shot it over a decade ago.

Achtung: Today fashion sometimes feels as a continuous repetition of itself. We are moving forward in a reverse gear. Is provocation gone?

Tom Ford: I don’t think that provocation will ever be gone. For me, one of the roles of fashion is to provoke, to make the customer think, to titillate the consumer in a way that he or she is not expecting. If fashion stops being provocative, it stops being exciting.

Achtung: Women go out and could wear almost nothing. You see their legs, their décolleté. With men it’s different. Why we are so afraid of male nudity?

Tom Ford: I have often been criticized in the press for objectifying women. But those who know me know that I am an equal opportunity “objectifier.” I think humans should be able to enjoy looking at other beautiful humans, whether in an erotic, inspirational, or even just informative way. But, as much as I’ve tried, it’s been consistently harder to get naked men onto magazine pages and billboards than naked or scantily clad women. The male nude is really the last taboo. Even the term “male nudity” makes people nervous: it provokes, distresses and shocks.

Achtung: Tom Ford and H&M. Besides all the speculation there have been, would that really ever happen?

Tom Ford: While I think that H&M is a great platform for many designers, I have no plans to launch a TOM FORD for H&M line at this time, I have never had any discussions with H&M, and the entire H &M rumor was simply one of these fabricated, overblown things that can happen in our internet age.

Achtung: Your collection covers 18kt gold sunglasses and morning coats for 3900 Dollars, you offer velvet slippers for which one can choose embroidered initials. What is you definition of style?

Tom Ford: For me, style has nothing to do with any of these things. A stylish man is just as stylish naked as he is fully clothed. Style is about the way one stands, one’s confidence, and the way one moves. It is also about the way one ties a scarf or chooses to put clothes together. One can buy beautiful things, but one cannot buy style.

Achtung: In former times, one said: In life a man has to build a house, plant a tree and father a son – what have men do today? What is your ultimate advice for a modern gentleman?

Tom Ford: For me, the most important advice for a modern gentleman is to have good manners, good breath and to be a kind person.

Achtung: And a modern gentlewoman?

Tom Ford: The same.

Achtung: Any ongoing film projects?

Tom Ford: I have been working on two screen plays for the past year, but realized recently that I cannot put either of these into work for another year or two as designing and building my brand is taking up all of time.

Achtung: Any New Year`s Resolutions?

Tom Ford: To try to live in the present. As a fashion designer, one of my jobs is to always look to the future; to anticipate what the consumer wants before he or she knows that she wants it. What is going to be the next bag, the next shoe, the next big thing? In my personal life, however, I would like to be more present in the NOW.

Achtung: By the way, what do you think about Marc Jacobs?

Tom Ford: Marc is a good friend and I have nothing but the utmost respect for him as a designer and as a person.

Achtung: You are considered to be a ‘aesthetic Nazi’. Is there anything you do not judge by it’s style and look?

Tom Ford: Whoa. That is not a very nice moniker. I detest the word Nazi. I am a perfectionist at work and my job as a designer is to create beautiful things, so I do have a very critical eye. That being said, I do not judge the people I love by their style or their look.