Tom Ford on his fall out with Yves Saint Laurent, dressing his celebrity friends and making another film

The designer talks candidly about his career in an interview with CNBC.

Emma Akbareian
Wednesday 18 February 2015 11:19 GMT

Ahead of his autumn/winter 2015 show which will be staged for the first time in Los Angeles - in the midst of the countdown to the Oscars - Tom Ford has given a candid interview to CNBC on the ups and downs of his career, dressing his famous friends and what the future holds.

The milestones in Ford's three-decade long career are well documented. In the interview, with Tania Bryer which will air on CNBC this Thursday he sheds some light on the highs and lows of his work during the 90s. Speaking about his time at Gucci he said:

"I was so lucky because I had ten years where - except for little, tiny glitches, I really almost could do no worng. Everything sold, everything worked. I went to Saint Laurent, that started to work to sell."

But his position in the group was not sustainable, discussing the pressure that led him to leave in 2004 he said

"The toughest part was when I was designing both Yves Saint Laurent and uh, Gucci, because I was literally just shuffling back and forth between Milan and Paris, I would have one show and then get on a plane and have another show ten days later in Paris and it just went on and on, both men's and women's."

"It was sixteen collections a year and I don't think I could have sustained for very long and I remember when I retired in 2004 and I really thought I was never coming back to fashion."

Ford's relationship with Yves Saint Laurent of which he was appointed Creative Director of in 1999, was famously frosty, with Saint Laurent openly speaking about his displeasure with Ford and his work at the label. Ford elaborates on the disagreement:

"At the very beginning we were quite friendly and then I believe when I started to deviate from what he felt was appropriate for the house, and we started to become successful and I started to get quite alot of press for it, he didn't really like it very much."

"And I do have some letters in his hand. I remember one line was 'in thirteen minutes you've destroyed 40 years of my work' or 'my life's work' or something like that."

Now with an own brand label that spans beauty, eyewear, menswear and womenswear under his belt, of which he says has finally made him feel like himself again, Ford is looking to a new season.

The decision to hold his autumn/winter show in Los Angeles this Friday is based on more than a passing whim; staging his show two days before the Oscars means he is in the thick of it for when it comes to dressing his leading ladies, for which there's more than likely to be few.

On the subject of dressing celebrities, Ford stressed the nature of such arrangements. When questioned about celebrity endorsements he says:

"I love that you said the word 'endorsements' because I have never paid a celebrity. Now when I hear the word endorsement I think money because to endorse something you usually receive a cheque."

"I have never paid a celebrity to wear the clothes or anything. I'm happy about that because it means they're responding, they're wanting to wear the clothes."

Julianne Moore in Tom Ford at the 2015 BAFTAs
Julianne Moore in Tom Ford at the 2015 BAFTAs

Ford goes on to name specific favourites that he's dressed, some are unsurprising, Julianne Moore for example is a firm favourite of Ford's and wore a red velvet dress by the designer to the BAFTAs.

As to what the future holds for the designer, he is hoping to repeat the success of his debut film 'A Single Man' with another turn at movie making; Ford revealed he is in process of casting for a new film he's hoping to shoot this year.

The interview by CNBC’s Tania Bryer to Premiere on Thursday 19 February at 10.00pm (GMT),

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