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Ford on Fashion: Get Dressed Up

Tom Ford, perhaps inspired by Savannah's Old World charm, says it's time to dress up again.

Tom Ford and Paula S. Wallace, president of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Tom Ford and Paula S. Wallace, president of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Chia C. Chong

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Tom Ford, perhaps inspired by Savannah’s Old World charm, says it’s time to dress up again.

Ford was in town to receive a lifetime achievement award last Friday from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Seated at a 26-foot-long mahogany dining table in a Greek Revival-style building on the campus, Ford said: “I wish we all weren’t so hung up on comfort. We’re in a beautiful room, and what we wear is a part of the decor, as much as the paintings or the ornate carved ceilings in it. Dressing up is also a courtesy to others, and old-fashioned good manners.”

Comfort and dressing up shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, he said.

“I’m not talking about old and stuffy clothes,” Ford explained. “There are different ways of feeling comfortable. I’m just more comfortable in a jacket.”

Ford said he will bring an older, wiser perspective to fashion when he designs apparel for the new Tom Ford brand, which will follow plans for cosmetics, eyewear and home items, but will never totally abandon the sexy approach that was so successful for him at Gucci.

“What I did in 1994, when fashion was ready for fun, after a minimal, dreary time, wouldn’t be right for now,” he said. “But I don’t know any woman who wants her hips to look bigger or who wants to look fatter. It will always be about sensuality and beauty.”

Ford said he was impressed with Savannah, as well as the college and its president, Paula S. Wallace, who has hosted designers such as Zac Posen, Miuccia Prada and Oscar de la Renta. The college opened an Atlanta campus in March. Speaking at a student fashion show, Ford said, “The vision of this woman is incredible — and any student is lucky to be able to go here.”

Ford also got to spend some time with business partner Domenico De Sole, who lives in nearby Hilton Head, S.C.

Andre Leon Talley, Vogue’s editor at large, introduced Ford Friday night as “the dazzling Mr. Dazzle — Tom Ford, Superstar.” Talley has been a patron saint of sorts for SCAD in recent years, and instrumental in helping lift the school’s international profile.