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Tom Ford gets personal

Forget the lavish fashion shows. Tom Ford says he is emphasizing 'personal luxury' and will forget trying to please critics.

February 20, 2011|By Booth Moore | Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

Ford is as controlled as Colin Firth's character in "A Single Man." Every surface in his nearly all-black office is sleek and spotless. There is no clutter. In fact, clutter probably doesn't exist in Ford's world. On a shelf, there are five golden statuettes — not Oscars (yet), but fashion awards. He positions himself in the chair facing the windows, which are mirrored on the outside. Every once in a while, a young woman strolling down Sunset will stop to check her hair and makeup, which amuses Ford to no end. One day, it was Britney Spears surrounded by a phalanx of photographers.

He turns 50 this year, and he couldn't be more pleased. "When I was a kid, I always wanted to be 50," he says. "I didn't feel comfortable as a kid. I wasn't good at sports. I wanted to read things other kids weren't reading. I wanted to be at my parents' cocktail parties and mix martinis. I wanted to live the fantasy life I saw in films. Which is why when I was younger, I fell for Richard Buckley, who was 38 when I was 25." He's referring to his longtime companion, with whom he shares homes in Los Angeles, London and Santa Fe, N.M.

Ford's art-directed lifestyle can be intimidating. After all, this is a man who has a different "look" for every locale. When asked about weaknesses in the facade, the only things he can come up with are fondnesses for Hostess doughnuts and "Desperate Housewives." "Maybe I do project an image that's a little hard," he says. "Though it seems to work, so maybe I better not mess with it."

Ford will launch cosmetics in the fall and begin work on his next film soon after. For him, filmmaking seems to be the ultimate form of control. "It's as real as real life. It's a whole world and you control whether they live or die. It's wild," he says.

He's also dressing two people for the Oscars. (Of course, he wouldn't dream of spoiling the big red carpet reveal by saying exactly who they are.) "Friends, who I also admire and think are great," is all he says. "I'm not getting a room at the Beverly Hills Hotel with 20 dresses and all the stylists coming in, like I used to at Gucci."

It's also likely that a few of his famous friends will drop by Thursday's opening party at the Rodeo Drive store, which happens to be directly across from Gucci, his old employer. "It was the only location with enough space for us. And honestly, it's not big enough." The store opens to the public Friday.

Right now, his ambitions are boundless. He points out that Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld and Ralph Lauren are all in their 70s, and says, .... "I don't believe there is anyone else coming up behind who has the commercial appeal across a broad range of products globally. So my goal is to be the next … take your pick."

booth.moore@latimes.com

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