Tom Ford & I: How I became his Muse and the Second Most Powerful Man in Fashion.
I don’t know what I was expecting when I first saw Mr. Ford; perhaps the élan that I imagine all internationally successful people to radiate. But when he walked into the room he seemed a very average looking gay man in a very nice suit. It probably didn’t help that I was surrounded by male models (more on them later) and that all of the guests were so well turned out (suits and turtle necks for the men, pastels for the adventurous women and black if playing safe) for the civilized farewell drink in his honour. The building itself could only be described as ‘Gucci Mansions’ – a large Georgian house in Mayfair with a few offices, but equally suited for entertaining. A staircase in the hallway spiraled around walls so white they gleamed. In the main room a huge white ‘vase’ stood much taller than I am and was filled with thick cherry tree branches in full bloom. If it had been in a Gallery they would have called it an installation.
The drinks started at 5.30 but people didn’t arrive until nearer 6.15, communally fashionable & late. My task was probably one of the best – to fill empty champagne glasses with Pol Roger White Foil, a black serviette neatly folded around the spout. It meant I could walk around and generally just get in the way; but feel
more a part of the night.
T.F. wasn’t drinking champagne. In fact everyone was very careful with the bubbly, each of them aware they could embarrass themselves if they were too rowdy. Stella McCartney turned up briefly, slightly out of breath, to swig an elderflower aromatique (that’s posh fizzy water to you and I) and discretely leave again. Tom moved around the room and kissed almost everyone’s cheeks and I was afraid he was going to leave soon without me finding something - a quirk, a foible, a mannerism - that if I could see, I would own. There was a heldness about the party, I guess because it was ‘business’ – Tom Ford was paying his dos and they their respects. Well, what was I expecting? For him to rip off his shirt and swing around the cherry tree? But as I was pouring a drink for someone standing next to him I finally saw it. The thing. His clothes were tailored but without being flashy or showy. His face was stubbly but he didn’t seem too coiffed or slicked like some of the guests were. He had just the hint of a tan; a glow. His face was pleasant – not strikingly beautiful or ugly – but he was handsome I decided. While not very tall he seemed, if you looked long enough, to be the right
height. In fact everything about him imbued a kind of stylistic harmony. There wasn’t a feather too preened or too ruffled. His thing? He was taste personified of course.
Male Models Sure Are Easy!
There were about ten of us, picked from agencies across London to achieve the required “look” because a "strong preppy spirit is blowing into men's fashion” apparently. Therefore we were kitted out in Public Boy Chic – white shirts, black ties and huge black aprons. All the boys were stunning and I fell in love with most of them instantly. Especially when we were in uniform. One had black hair with tight curls; another was wispy blonde, another’s head was shaved to the contours of his perfectly formed skull. There was jaw, and lips, and shoulders, and soft brows and sad and piercing eyes. Each of them had an easy going professionalism about them. No one looked awkward when their tie was tightened for them. They stripped off their clothes to change like clothes were the most unnatural things in the world and their skin hadn’t been able to breathe all along. Before the function we were prepped and told that we were to use our charm but not to be “too charming.” We nodded, as if we were asked this all the time and it was a burden. Perhaps some of the boys had already come close to killing someone with their charm and good looks. If it wasn’t all so sexy I might have found it pretentious. But it was. I have two words for you. Or. Gy.
We were each assigned a role so there was someone to take coats, one to hold glasses, another to open the door and four of them to bring in the tiny cubes of finger food on square mahogany trays. Because all the guests were either women or gay men we caused a ripple of eye contact whenever we appeared en masse. Each time I passed one of the other boys we would nod or wink at each other and I’d feel my skin prickle with pleasure.
But, I can hear you cry; they’re pretty men - we get that already - but are they easy
? Well, I won’t be able to tell you that until I go on my date with one of them tonight…