CREDIT TO: TOM FORD’S UNDER WORLD BY: MARK ANTHONY GREEN
Looking to Tom Ford for your underwear supply is a bit like going to a vegan’s house for a barbecue. Underwear is a new frontier for Tom—completely. He doesn’t even wear boxers or briefs. In fact, he’s notorious for going commando. (In the fashion world, his wardrobe malfunctions and more, um, voluntary exposures are well known.) But his new “fully developed” underwear line is every bit the Tom Ford we know and love. The underwear is damn soft, but the real draw here is the look. You can pick a pair of flesh-toned skivvies or something more exotic. “Let’s say you’re going on a date,” he says. “When you take off your pants, you want it to be kind of a great moment—which of course it will be when you take off your underwear. But before you get to that point, why wouldn’t you want silver metallic underwear? Or zebra? Or leopard? Or something a little crazier?”
That’s kind of the entire guiding ethos of Tom Ford. It’s how the sex-appeal shaman made Gucci a temple of swank and his own namesake fashion brand a powerhouse for every leading man and woman in Hollywood. Tom Ford makes the tux for the big premiere, the suit for the big meeting, etc. Sure, there are designers who make pricier clothes than Tom Ford. (Not many, though there are some!) But there’s no world as luxurious, mahogany-wood-filled, and plush to the touch as Tom Ford’s. His name alone is synonymous with the good life. And yet even with Ford being one of the most consistent fashion hitmakers for over 30 years, he’s still surprising us. Take as a start his not-so-luxurious snacking.
GQ: Do you eat junk food?
Tom Ford: I love junk food. Well, first of all, I have an incredibly meticulous diet. A plant-based diet. I mean, I eat really, really, really well, but I supplement that with at least three doughnuts a day.
Absolutely. I was just eating some Cheetos before this interview. But my lunch is going to be totally vegan, absolute protein. I’m very conscious of my main source of food. But you know the thing that’s like cocaine to me? Those little mini doughnuts covered in the white powder. I cannot see them without having to eat the pack immediately. It’s like, if we have them in the office, I eat every single one.
There’s absolutely no elegant way to eat those. Or have you found a way?
Oh yeah. I mean, I like to think I can do most things and look elegant.
How big is your closet?
I have no clothes! I wear the same suits over and over and over to the point they literally wear out, because when that’s all you do all day long—dress other people and design clothes—the last thing you want to do when you have five or three minutes is to order new clothes for yourself. So I don’t. I went to a restaurant the other day, and I was having lunch. I felt a little bit of cold on my butt. I reached around, and my pants had ripped all the way from my waist completely to the bottom of my butt.
Yikes! And I assume that wasn’t a rare day that you wore underwear, correct?
I was sitting there with my butt hanging out at a restaurant. So anyways, I need to order myself some clothes.
It’s difficult to celebrate any Tom Ford creation with the man himself. For starters, he’s not much of a smell-the-roses kind of guy. Moreover, by the time we get the new product in our hands, he’s off working on the next big thing. When we spoke in July, he was preparing his women’s collection, which was due in two weeks. He’s coy about film projects he may have in the works—Ford directed ‘A Single Man’ in 2009 and ‘Nocturnal Animals’ in 2016—but it’s not because he thinks the public isn’t ready to hear about them. It’s to keep the staff of the Tom Ford fashion house from flipping their shit when they hear he’s off in Tinseltown again getting all noir and sexy. His life is mania—powered by ego, purpose, and doughnuts, apparently. But how long can Tom Ford keep on Tom Ford–in’?
Are you worried that all of these collections and films will eventually put you in a creative slump?
I never actually stop. It’s a sort of constant thing. So I don’t have time to be in a slump. In fact, that’s a word I think you have to have the luxury to sit around and say, “I can’t think of anything.” I never have that luxury. I’m constantly producing. So if I’m in a slump right now, I don’t know until later.
Do you worry about “balance”?
My biggest fear is that I work too hard, and when Jack [Tom’s son] grows up, I’ll think, Why was I doing all that? And that I should’ve spent more time with him. But I think a lot of people who work hard have that same fear if you have kids. Richard [Ford’s partner] is going to be almost 70, and I’ll be 57 this summer, and I’m becoming very aware of time and how much time we have. My biggest fear is looking back and thinking, Did I spend that time well? ‘Cause you don’t get it back. That’s it.
Mark Anthony Green is GQ’s style editor.
This story originally appeared in the September 2018 issue with the title “Tom Ford’s Under World.”