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Tom Ford’s Nickname Used to Be ‘Tender’

Tom Ford has so much to say about so many things, not in the least his first namesake womenswear collection, which maybe, just maybe, you've read about. In championing for a mainstream rise in images of frontal male nudity, Ford so eloquently wrote, "Imagine if contemporary fashion demanded that you left your cock hanging outside your trousers, with perhaps just the head trussed up in a tiny pouch like a dick bra." And then said of modern sex appeal, "Women have turned themselves into these bubble-butted, grapefruit-titted, bloated-mouthed cyberbitches. I'm just not into that." He has lots of lovely and articulate things to say about love in the new issue of Out, on which he poses with his partner of 24 years, Richard Buckley. Both Ford and Buckley share the story of how they met: They first saw each other at a fashion show and then met for a second time at WWD, where Buckley worked then. Ford recalls that second meeting at WWD:

He was adorable, and he was a complete fool. He was sort of dancing around, flashing his eyes at me, and trying so hard to be charming. I decided in that elevator ride that I was going to marry him. I’m very pragmatic, and I was, like, OK, there’s some kind of connection here. He ticked every box, and — boom — by the time we got to the floor, I was like, OK, sold. He seemed so together. He was so handsome, he was so connected, he was so grown-up, so he was very intimidating. And he really chased me — not that he had to chase that hard. It excited me but it also scared me, because I knew he was different and that whatever it was I felt with him was very different from what I’d felt before.

Buckley's response proves that behind every great man is another great man. He recalls the dinner he went to at Tom's employer Cathy Hardwick's place the night after he first laid eyes on the young designer:

The next night, the dinner was wonderful, but the young man wasn’t there. After dinner I took Cathy aside and asked, “Who is your assistant?”


“No, not Tova, a really cute guy.”



“His real name is Tom, but I call him Tender.” At the time, Cathy was married to a man called Tom Snowden. She said she had to distinguish between her two Tom turkeys, so one was Tough (her husband) and the other (Ford) was Tender.

Like I said, there was never any moss growing on Cathy, and she immediately said, “He’s perfect for you. Come for lunch on Monday. I’ll arrange the whole thing.”

Apparently, when she came in the next morning, Cathy yelled, “Tender, get in here!” She told him, “Richard Buckley, the fashion editor of Women’s Wear Daily and editor of Scene, wants to go out with you. He’s very important. We need him. You take my credit card and go anywhere he wants to go.”

In a subsequent phone call with Ford, Buckley had to get over the notion that the young man "was a stuck-up little prick."

Tom Ford and Richard Buckley Forever [Out]

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Cut® are registered trademarks of New York Media LLC.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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