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Tom Ford After Sex

The Lucio Fontana in the entryway of the Tom Ford store.  

Honestly, he’s a little hurt by some reviews of his new store, and the talk that’s been going on about him among the fashion clique, and I’ve been summoned here for an unexpected meeting. The New York Times sent an undercover reporter who wrote that, among other offenses, Ford’s scowling doorman made him feel like Oprah at Hermès. “It was a nasty article, and I was upset, of course,” says Ford. “Though, honestly, with something like a secret shopper, how do I even know for sure the man came into the store? But I will do better.” He sighs. “Maybe people who have known me as innovating in terms of silhouette or fashion are irritated in a way that I’ve chosen to play a different game, and not their game. We are running a business that’s not for everyone, and I’m not trying to be an asshole, but some people can’t afford it and maybe there is a sort of resentment about that.”

In a way, Ford has disappeared into fashion. Here he is on a jacket’s functioning buttonholes: “The more you learn and are exposed, the more you want them,” he says. “Functioning buttonholes start to stand for something more than buttonholes that don’t.” Just as starched shirts and perfect cuff links have become too fetishized in his mind, the muse and the brand have become a bright shiny object as well. Today, that object may be too ripe, yet the sex salesman still needs to hike up his skirt. It can be exhausting for someone who may not be at his core a sex superhero, but merely a charming man. “I don’t care about being the cool kid anymore—I’m so over that,” he says. “I’m getting too old to care about sex anyway.”

He downs a vodka-and-tonic. “Sometimes,” he says, “I feel that I’ve controlled my image too much, and no one knows who I really am.”