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Tom Ford Talks Pretty

Tom Ford, fashion’s resident provocateur, is seeking to redefine the world of beauty

Tom Ford has shaped the way we think of style, fragrance and now he’s seeking to redefine the world of beauty. Upon his extension from lip color to a full-fledged  beauty collection  debuting at  Saks Fifth Avenue in New York this month, Ford talks exclusively with Saks POV Editorial Director Sophia Chabbott about the  inspiration for the collection, the transformative power of cosmetics and how makeup is not just for women — he uses it too!

SaksPOV: You’ve called this collection “sensual” not “sexy”. What is the difference?
Tom Ford:
Sensuality is more important to me right now; sexuality implies you’re actually going to have sex. And sensuality is something else.  A smoky eye for me is sensuous.  There is a heavy-lidded quality to all of our colors, it’s a sultry look. I think dark eye makeup is gorgeous.

SaksPOV: From fashion and accessories to architecture and film, you are fluent in multiple mediums.  How is beauty — specifically color cosmetics — unique from your previous work? 
T.F.: The Tom Ford Beauty Collection is unique on its own, but absolutely reflective of the Tom Ford brand. It’s reflective of the level of luxury we offer of our ideal to help women express their individuality, to help amplify their beautiful features. We help correct the architecture of [a woman’s] face and to choose colors that really let them express a strong mood or persona, with a lot of glamour.

SaksPOV:  What are the things every woman needs in her cosmetics case?
I have become absolutely addicted to the primers. The Illuminating Protective Primer is amazing because it actually gives your skin a glow. It has micro pearls in its formula so it is slightly pearlized. You can almost wear just the primer. I like a slightly dewier complexion, more than a matte complexion, so maybe that’s why I personally like the look of the primer on its own. If you only buy a very few products, it’s primer, Mascara, Noir Absolute for drama, maybe a smudgy eye liner for a little more control, an eyebrow pencil, and something for your lips.

SaksPOV: What about cosmetics inspires you?
I love makeup. It is one of the first things that I think about when I am designing a clothing collection. It is the thing that defines the character of the season. Who is she? Is she sexy? Sultry? Sophisticated? More of a daytime person? A nighttime person? I also use cosmetics as a man, to make my skin look better. If I have not had a good night’s sleep I will use a concealer under my eyes. If I have to be photographed, I will use a bit of translucent powder to smooth out the appearance of my skin. So, it’s something that I am passionate about and that I know a great deal about because I’ve used a lot of skin care products over the years.

SaksPOV: In opening Tom Ford boutiques in Asia, Russia and elsewhere across the globe, what kinds of differences have you noticed in women’s tastes? (Is red lipstick big in Moscow? hot pink in Tokyo?)
In London, I see many young girls who are painted, painted, with so much makeup. Painted. Like in the eighties.  Parisians wear mega eyes: mascara, liner, and smoky, smoky, smoky kohl, it’s all about dark on their lids. Los Angeles would be that very made-up, nudey-beige, constructed nude face. In the evening in L.A., you usually see a lot of no-makeup-makeup. I think that’s really the L.A. look. Glossy, glossy lips, they’re natural but there is L-I-P gloss! Glossed up!

SaksPOV: How can makeup transform a woman’s look?
T.F.: Makeup is an accessible way to have major impact without having on majorly expensive clothes. It’s a fashion statement on your face.


The complete Tom Ford beauty collection is available at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City. Tom Ford lip color and fragrances can be found on Saks.com. The complete Tom Ford Beauty collection will be available on Saks.com in early 2012.

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