If ever there was a reason to tune into the Oprah Winfrey Network, it was last night for the premiere of the Tom Ford documentary, which is part of OWN’s doc series Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind (which also includes Tyler Perry, James Cameron, will i.am, and Annie Leibovitz). Ford is notoriously protective of his brand and reluctant to give interviews so this documentary marks a rare look at his day-to-day life (including a peek inside his London design studio!), his creative process, what the day he left Gucci and YSL was like, and even a look at his secretive Spring 2011 runway presentation. Here are some of the things you might not have known about Ford.
Why London for Ford’s design studio?
Ford has never let anyone film him in his London design studio up until welcoming the OWN crew. When he set up his own company, he opted to do so in the UK capital because of the wealth of designers that have emerged from the city. He also favors an open space for his employees' working environment because he wants people’s creativity to feed off of each other.
Ford is “always working” – unless he’s in the bathtub
There isn’t an hour in the day where he isn't working. Ford says, “If I’m awake, I’m working.” The one exception is when the designer is taking a bath, which he does at least three times a day. On days where he is particularly stressed, he admits to taking a bath every hour.
Ford wanted to be an actor
While at NYU, Ford also took acting classes and says he “secretly wanted to be an actor,” but once he started working as one realized he didn’t like it because he wasn’t in control.
After NYU, Ford studied architecture – not fashion – at Parsons
The designer says that his architectural studies influence everything that he does, but he realized while in school that architecture was too serious a profession for him and decided to pursue fashion.
Ford is obsessive and easily bored
It’s a well known fashion industry fact that Ford is a perfectionist and he goes into a lengthy bit about how he was born that way. He also admits that while he usually looks calm on the outside, he’s obsessive about every little detail underneath and remarks that “fashion suits the speed with which he gets bored with things.”
Ford makes Carolyn Murphy…and Beyonce nervous
Every time he enters the room, Murphy admits that she gets nervous and Beyonce is heard saying, “I’m nervous,” as she prepares for his Spring 2011 presentation.
Why such a hush-hush Spring 2011 womenswear debut?
Ford says that he believes you have to do something first and then talk about it because if you do it the other way around, you risk talking about something that doesn’t live up to expectations. He also underscores that because of his past with Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, expectations to live up to what houses like Louis Vuitton and Chanel – houses with much larger budgets – are doing, are very high.
Life post Gucci
After leaving Gucci, Ford “had a terrible low.” He got home pulled all the drapes and went to bed. The next day he looked at his calendar and it was blank – “I didn’t know who I was; who I was supposed to be.” He then went on to say that he always knew he would make a film, but didn’t know when and he notes that he was completely oblivious to the fact that so many people doubted his directorial abilities. When speaking about his debut film, A Single Man, he says that it was his “midlife crisis on screen” because Ford took parts of his own life and own personality to "graft himself into the film," like putting on a nice suit just to feel better about oneself.
Material things don’t bring you happiness
Ford says that he struggles because while he’s attracted to beautiful things, he is conscious of their “lack of value.” Your connections to other people, the designer says, are what ultimately bring you happiness. That said, he also underlines that he loves “when people are extravagant” and points to a fondness for tribal clothing and wishes people were more secure with themselves to not be so safe with their fashion choices.
Style isn’t about money
You can have no money and have great style; you can have a lot of money and have great style, but “more often when you have a lot of money you don’t have great style,” says Ford who also remarks that he doesn’t like seeing women wear his designs head-to-toe the way he has shown them, but rather he appreciates women who break up his looks and infuse their personal style.
Ford doesn't fear death
Tom Ford could die tomorrow and he would be fine. The designer says that he feels like he has done and experienced enough that death doesn't "freak him out."
Wearing a tie gives Tom Ford a headache
The most surprising thing culled from the documentary? Tom Ford, despite his perfectionist tendencies and his serious demeanor, actually seems to have a sense of humor!