“You’ve got to figure out what you love in life.
You’ve got to do what you love.” – Tom Ford
OWN’s Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind takes a look at designer and visionary, Tom Ford. Known as TOM FORD, “the brand and filmmaker,” and one of the most influential designers for the last twenty years. For sixty minutes, this mini-style documentary gives us an intimate look into his journey and makes for an inspiring hour of television as Tom makes his journey back into the world of women’s fashion.
“Perfectionism…something I’m working to control but you can only control so much…
so you have to just let it go. As I get older, the more and more I see that.” – Tom Ford
From small town America and growing up in Texas and New Mexico, Tom says he couldn’t wait to escape to the life that he imagined for himself. At 17, he moved to New York and while he secretly had the desire to be an actor, but quickly realized that acting wasn’t his thing. “I realized that I wasn’t in control…so what was Ii going to do?” Tom says. So, as many do in their late young adults who are searching for a path, he enrolled at NYC famous college, Parsons, and soon found himself on an Architect path. But throughout his schooling, he found that even with architecture design he kept getting pulled back into the fashion world. Sprinkled along his path, it’s clear that fashion found him.
“Life inspires me. The mood of the world…” – Tom Ford
Although he graduated with a degree in architecture, it was Parson’s prestigious reputation in fashion design that spoke for him as he looked for work after graduation. With architecture as his framework, this background and passion have helped him in his approach to the design process. “Developing a vocabulary and brand takes on a personality based on your personality. If I’m awake, I’m working,” Tom shares. In the world of fashion, his career rose rapidly. In 1990, Tom began his work at Gucci. By 1993, with the economic downturn of the 90’s, they were in terrible financial trouble. At 30, Tom was the youngest Design Director of Gucci and Tom tells us, “While everyone else was focused on how to sell off different parts of the company, I was given complete creative control.” And control he took. The rising star was not only credited with saving Gucci, but also acclaimed for turning around Yves Saint Laurent fashion house when Gucci took them over in 1999. Tom Ford was the fashion star to watch.
With designing 16 collections a year, by the time Tom was 40, he says, “I had everything…but yet something was missing from my life.” So, he left the fashion world and took on the film world. After writing, producing, and directing “A Single Man” in 2009, the critics were silenced on the note of if he could do it. Tom tells us that this movie was “my mid-life crisis on screen. Everything you need to know about me is in that film. Through all that I kind of came to a real peace on life.”
“A few times in my life I’ve had moments of clarity when the silence drowns
out the noise and I can feel rather than think.” – Tom Ford
With a personality as captivating as his fashion design, Tom gives us a little bit of a glimpse into his life…and where he finds himself relaxing. While it may seem a little eccentric to some, I think that it’s wonderful indulgence – taking 3 to 5 baths a day. It’s where he can relax…and think or not think. This is where he has found his peace… Perhaps we should all take a note here and locate our ritual or place where we find our OWN peace because it’s within this time of peace…that we often discover our OWN joy…if we just listen to the whispers.
“Do something first, then talk about it.” – Tom Ford
After a five year absence from women’s fashion, Tom is about debut the first TOM FORD brand women’s clothing line. Following the journey to the runway, Tom tells us where he finds his inspiration. “I’m inspired by all my women friends who have great style,” and reminds us that style isn’t about how much money you have to spend on fashion but it’s what you pick out and most importantly, HOW you wear the item that gives it style. “When I came back to fashion, I wasn’t sure that I was going to come back to women’s fashion,” Tom says. After burning the candle at both ends and doing 16 collections a year, it seemed to have squeezed the joy and passion out of the process. Now, it appears that he has found a way to keep the passion in the process and from the joy in his voice at the end of the film, it’s clear that he is happy with the journey.
“Fashion is a business that is deemed by popular culture of the one thing at one time
that you should be wearing at a particular time. Fashion creates a bit of a dream.
That’s the whole point of dressing up…” – Tom Ford
While we all find beauty in different places and the intrinsic value of those things. What’s important in life? Tom admits “I do struggle because I’m attracted in some ways to beautiful things, yet at the same time, I am actually very aware in some sense of their lack of value and that the most important things in life are your connections with other people. So it’s a bit of a struggle.” A lesson that found him, as it finds all of us, clearly has helped him become the visionary that he is.
“I’m not going to waste any more time. If it’s not fun, I don’t want to do it.” – Tom Ford
In “Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind of Tom Ford” we see that passion drives us towards our path. While it may take on a lot of twists and turns, it’s important to stay present and listen to the direction it’s going in. You never know where you might end up…hopefully on your OWN perfect runway with your OWN style.