Perhaps Tom Ford is a control freak, but he'd prefer not to be called one. "I hate that word," Ford admitted to us on the phone this morning from his hotel room in New York. Last night he screened A Single Man at the Lighthouse Screening Room, where pals like Zac Posen and Mike Nichols were visibly moved by Ford's film. "But, in my life, I've often been called a control freak. There needs to be a better word for it. 'Control freak' makes it sound like you're crazy. " As an iconic designer, a sex symbol, and now a filmmaker, the man's got a lot to control. "If your name is on a shoe, then the heel is the way you want it and the toe is the way you want it and the leather is exactly the quality you want it. A lot of the furniture [on the set of A Single Man] was from my own house. I painted the paintings that were hanging on Charlie's [Julianne Moore's character] wall. If it's not your movie, what's the point? When you're creating something that is expressive, that's the point — it represents your point of view. So, yes, I was an extremely hands-on director."
Ford recently described his time at Yves Saint Laurent as "misery," since Yves and his partner, Pierre Bergé, were "so difficult and so evil." He pointed out, however, that Laurent and Bergé weren't actually his bosses: "We bought Yves's company, and Yves had nothing to do with it — he was totally gone and out of the company. I didn't work with Yves. I said that while I was working at Saint Laurent, they made my life difficult, because they did." So is he an easier man to work with? "Well, I don't think any place I've ever worked in has ever been difficult for the people who work there, because I don't throw temper tantrums. I'm a very rational, compassionate, organized guy. Working in a pleasant environment is very important to me."
Ford called writing and directing A Single Man "the most personal thing I've ever done in my life." He explained, "Fashion is a commercial endeavor for me. By its very nature, designing clothes is more of a surface industry. You're making clothes that make a woman's body look good and whether she looks good or not is what determines whether she buys your pair of pants. This [film] was the most purely artistic thing that I've ever done. I wasn't trying to design a film that would be commercial. If I was trying to do that, I would have put in a prom scene and made it Terminator 12. I wasn't trying to make something that competed with Twilight." Though, for the record, "I like Twilight," he added. "I liked the first one, and I'm dying to see the new one. But it's a different side of life."