LONDON — Tom Ford’s new beauty collection is an ambitious one that incorporates color cosmetics and skin care, but his approach to beauty is surprisingly simple.
“I don’t like B.S. and a lot of promises, and there are a lot of products out there you don’t even need,” said the designer during an interview at his grand showroom and offices next door to Phillips de Pury & Co. in central London. “My brain works in the same way whatever I do. The approach is practical, architectural and I use the same vocabulary whether I’m designing clothing or color cosmetics.”
Ford said he’d wanted to do color for a long time — as far back as when he was creative director at Gucci. Even when he founded his signature brand in 2005, the time still wasn’t right for a launch. “My intention was to do color cosmetics out of the gate, but not everyone else was convinced that I had a voice in color until the lipsticks started selling out again and again,” he said, referring to the Private Blend Lip Color Collection, a group of 12 ultrapigmented colors that launched last year.
“I’ve cared about cosmetics and makeup since I was a kid,” said Ford, who recalls coming home from school in the mid-Seventies, grabbing a box of cereal, and tuning into Merv Griffin’s talk show. He remembers being riveted by Griffin’s more glamorous guests, the Hollywood modeling agent Nina Blanchard, and Vidal and Beverly Sassoon. But not all of those after-school pursuits were benign: Ford recalls an experiment with cucumber slices that took a sinister turn. “When I was 14, I had to be taken to the emergency room because the cucumber slices I had put on my eyes — to camouflage the bags — had made them swell shut. I could eat cucumbers, but my eyes were clearly allergic to them,” he says, wondering aloud what his mother, Shirley, must have thought, seeing her son lying in the bathtub with salad greens on his face.
Four decades later, Ford has developed some more sophisticated beauty tricks. Not surprisingly for a former student of architecture, Ford’s starting point was facial structure and the importance of creating the illusion of symmetry. “You need to understand the face and compensate for the architecture of the face,” he said. He points to eyebrows, which fade and thin out as a woman ages. “A nice thick brow is the key to a youthful look,” he said, adding that a darker, heavier brow can make a high forehead appear less high, while an arched and tailored brow can make a round face appear more regular.
Ford said his calligraphy tip brow pens are so precise, they can be used to draw on individual brow hairs. He’s also a big believer in reshaping the face with illuminating and sculpting products such as the Shade and Illuminate cream duet. “In the old days, this used to be called contouring makeup.”
He said that, overall, he’s more about color than a nude face: “For night, it’s a strong eye and a strong mouth.” Indeed, even his lip glosses — with racy names like Lost Cherry — are packed with pigment. Eyes are most definitely smoky, and the key is to “anchor” intense colors around the eye with a rim of kohl-effect pencil, said Ford, who worked with the British makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury on the cosmetics. The effect is the feminine aesthetic at Studio 54 circa 1978, the full glossy lips and thick brows, the sparkling eyes and the long flowing locks on characters including Jerry Hall, Lauren Hutton, Mariel Hemingway and Bianca Jagger.
Ford is so invested in this collection that he’s appearing in the ads — in sensual poses alongside his glamour girl models. “I’m not in the ads because I’m vain. A lot of people still don’t know who I am, and the product sells better with me in the ads,” he said. “The old designers — Yves [Saint Laurent], Giorgio [Armani] and Ralph [Lauren] — occasionally used to do it.” Ford also uses a lot of the skin care products himself, including the Traceless Foundation Stick in the corners of his nose and eyes, the Illuminating Protective Primer, and the Purifying Crème Cleanser “it goes on like cold cream and the skin feels moisturized and unbelievable.” He sometimes sleeps in the oil-based serum, Intensive Infusion Concentrate Extreme, which he said absorbs straight into the skin.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)