Tom ford wants you to separate his fashion designs from his films.
Tom ford may be the most famous fashion designer, but he is also an accomplished filmmaker. His first film was nominated for an Oscar. His second film, “nocturnal animals,” opened on Thursday.
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
There may be as many names on the red carpet as Oscar.
Unidentified woman # 1: Tom ford, everyone.
Unidentified man: okay, Tom ford.
MARGOT ROBBIE: whatever you want, Tom Ford. I’ll wear whatever you want.
Unidentified woman # 2: this is Tom ford.
INSKEEP: fashion designer Tom Ford is also a film director. His latest film, nocturnal animals, is a drama of revenge. It stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, opening today. NPR’s Mandalit del Barco met with the director in a fashionable west Hollywood office.
MANDALIT DEL BARCO, wired: a woman in high heels through the lobby of Tom ford’s office, let me and my editor go by. The studio was pristine and determined. Two large mirrors as sentinels. Outside the door, there was a pleasant, blurry photograph. Welcome to the world of Tom Ford.
Tom ford: are you recording? (laughter) you have this right on my face.
DEL BARCO: unlike my sc microphone microphone, ford’s office is flawless. He wore a black suit and a crisp white shirt, neckline and golden cufflinks, the kind that James Bond wore in “sky health.” The outline of his face was framed by Tom Ford glasses and the perfect shadow of five o ‘clock.
Ford: first of all, I want people to put the fashion designer Tom ford aside and think of the movie producer Tom ford.
DEL BARCO: his new movie is in his familiar two worlds – Los Angeles elite art world and wild west Texas rural areas. Ford says the main character reflects different aspects of his personality. There is Susan, complete quaffed and strong, and Amy Adams plays the rich gallery owner.
Ford: she was in complete pain. She’s not safe. She is really an artist’s heart. She longed for a different life. I think that this part is autobiographical, that she defends the materialism of her life, and the more spiritual side of life that she ignores.
DEL BARCO: that was her ex-husband Edward. He wrote a novel devoted to Susan, about the brutal treatment of a Texas man’s wife and daughter. In this story, Edward and his hero are Jake Gyllenhaal.
Ford: jack’s character is considered weak.
Delbco: ford says he could say he grew up in Texas in the 1960s.
Ford: part of my family is a rancher. So you should be pretty manly. You shouldn’t cry. I am the exact opposite. I was a sensitive, shy kid who was teased a lot. I was very bullied. I mean, it’s more like an adult, you know, a jacket, skinny pants and a raincoat. And even when I was seven, eight, and nine, I was carrying a briefcase to school because I hated the second life of my schoolbag.
DEL BARCO: his family moved to Santa fe, and ford put it up in New York City, studying art history and architecture. In the late 1970s, he spent many nights in studio 54.
Ford: if you’re young and you’re attractive – and I was – and you know the right people, you can go to Studio for free.
DEL BARCO: in some of the ads, ford appeared before the fashion world. He said that despite his inexperience, a designer named Cathy Hardwick hired him.
Ford: she told me later that she wasn’t impressed with my work, but I had a beautiful face.
DEL BARCO: in New York, ford meets a man who will be his husband, Richard buckley, editor of men’s fashion magazine. They moved to Europe where ford started working for gucci and designed women’s clothing. He soon defined the seductive style of the 1990s. His career took off after Madonna embraced the 1995 video music award in a dark blue satin shirt and velvet butt. She popularized his brand.
Madonna: so I have to make my Gucci shoes into the camera – okay? Then they’ll let me keep them. Gucci.
DEL BARCO: Gucci, Gucci, Gucci is Madonna’s red carpet mantra. Ford became a fashion celebrity and even inspired jay-z to write a song for his honor.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, TOM FORD)
Jay-z :(rap) I won’t catch on, I’ll rock Tom ford. International, bring back the Concorde.
DEL BARCO: ford helped restore Gucci, turning a bankrupt company into a multi-billion dollar luxury brand. He is also the creative director of Yves Saint Laurent. For more than a decade, he has been shuttling between London, Paris and Italy, designing 16 collections a year. But he didn’t want to talk about it.
Ford: if you don’t think it’s a tired story, I’m happy to repeat it. However, if someone just goes online and clicks my name, it’s too tired.
DEL BARCO: Tom Ford, you’ll find a new pair of glasses, menswear, perfume and beauty lines, 122 Tom Ford stores. Tom ford is a billion-dollar fashion company. He closed his eyes, sighed and leaned against the chair.
Ford: yes. I do – it’s stupid talk, I’m sorry, because anyone in the world knows this story. This is a drag. I hate to waste the interview time talking about it.
DEL BARCO: well, I don’t know…
DEL BARCO: why don’t you jump in…
Ford: let’s talk about movies.
DEL BARCO: but even in his movies, style is crucial. In 2009, without experience in filmmaking, ford wrote “single man”. He named one of his famous MUSES, julianne Moore and colin firth. In 1962, he won an Oscar nomination for his role as a well-dressed gay professor. Ford said his Hollywood friends were surprised by the film’s great success.
Ford: people say, wow, I don’t know. What do you have in mind how ridiculous people think you are? Oh, we thought you were a complete idiot. We don’t think you can do that. I remember being surprised because I didn’t doubt I could do it.
DEL BARCO: his latest lead, Amy Adams, said ford’s fashion experience did find a way.
AMY ADAMS: he’s very involved in the details. He is a very decisive, authoritative director.
DEL BARCO: Jake Gyllenhaal admits he has reservations about taking action from the Nocturnal Animals.
JAKE GYLLENHAAL: at first, I had my idea that he would be obsessed with aesthetics, and I think he did it. You know, I watched him pick everyone’s nail color, their hair color. Like me, no one. We insisted on that from the beginning. I said I would be very angry if you ignored the truth because you didn’t think it looked beautiful.
I mean, look, I’m still wearing very beautiful clothes. Some things, he doesn’t have to let go. For a while, we were shooting a scene in which he said his desk was a mess. I walked onto the stage, like a perfect organization. I said, Tom, it says – the script is – the table is a mess. ‘I don’t know what to do,’ he said. You know, I said yes. He said he screwed up, you know, I said yes.
DEL BARCO: as a director and designer, Tom Ford is known for controlling the reputation of the perfectionist. And even if our interview fails, he seems unable to help, but tries to run the show.
Ford: are you still recording? Turn it off.
DEL BARCO: NPR’s Mandalit DEL BARCO.