Longtime fashion journalist Richard Buckley died Sunday at age 72.
“It is with great sadness that Tom Ford announces the death of his beloved husband of 35 years, Richard Buckley,” a statement from the designer said. “Richard passed away peacefully at their home in Los Angeles last night with Tom and their son Jack by his side. He died of natural causes after a long illness.”
Buckley was born in Binghamton, N.Y., in 1948 and was raised as part of a military family in New York, France and Germany. After graduating from the University of Maryland in Munich, he began to pursue a career in journalism in 1979 at New York Magazine. In 1982, he moved to Paris as the European editor of Fairchild Publications’ Daily News Record, the men’s wear counterpart to WWD. In that and subsequent roles, he had the uncanny ability to spot what was “next” — the young designer who would become the Next Big Thing; a club everyone would soon be flocking to, or a musician, actor or actress set to explode onto the scene.
A man with ramrod straight posture and piercing blue eyes, Buckley’s inquisitiveness knew few, if any, bounds, and he somehow managed to tap into what would be influencing men’s fashions not only a season ahead, but several seasons ahead. And he would do it all with a quietly diligent, soft-spoken manner that endeared him to almost everyone he met — and that hid a sense of humor that delighted in spotting the absurd, or that could make even the most cutting remark come across with seeming kindness.
In 1986, Buckley was called back to New York by editorial director John B. Fairchild to be editor in chief of the company’s newest publication, Scene, which was aimed at the twentysomething daughter of the reader of Fairchild’s W magazine. He also held the title of fashion editor at WWD. While Scene — which was meant to have the gritty feel of the downtown world it supposedly covered — never took off in the way Fairchild hoped, Buckley still managed to carve out a niche for it as an insider’s must-read to learn about the newest trends in fashion, music, art, culture and more.
After Scene shuttered, Buckley left Fairchild in 1988 to join Tina Brown at Vanity Fair, where he became social editor and, again, rapidly turned that beat into more than just a party page. In 1990, he and Ford would move to Milan, where Buckley became European editor of Mirabella magazine and contributing editor at Italian Vogue, while Ford joined the design staff at Gucci. After the couple relocated to Paris, Buckley became editor in chief of Vogue Hommes International. He would continue to contribute the occasional fashion article even after the couple moved to London. Buckley most recently lived in Los Angeles, New York and Santa Fe.
He is survived by his husband, Tom Ford, as well as their son, Alexander John Buckley Ford.
Funeral arrangements could not be learned at presstime.