David bailey/tom ford menswear


This photo provided by Tom Ford Menswear is of designer Tom Ford.


Tom Ford is back in the fashion business, attempting to alter — if not correct — a phenomenon he helped create.

He wants both the industry and consumers to end the hunt for the next big thing and instead make a long-term commitment to personal style. He wants people to appreciate the details in the things they can keep for years to come.

“It’s a reaction to our world, where everything is so impersonal and things are less and less about quality, less and less about nuance — less and less about people. Maybe I’m in the early stages of longing for the generation before,” said Ford.

Ford this week opens a very Savile Row-inspired menswear store on Madison Avenue, a departure from the super-sexy, high-concept runway shows that were his trademark as design chief at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

He’s selling suits and tuxedos, cap-toe shoes and velvet slippers, tennis shorts and, in the fall, shooting clothes, along with walking sticks and cufflinks. The personal touches include hand-woven socks with the wearer’s initials and shirt boxes with customers’ names in calligraphy.

Three years ago Ford, who is the designer equivalent of a rock star, very publicly fled the fashion scene in favour of Hollywood. He had several scripts in the works and he said this week that at least one film project was ready to go, though he refused to give any details.

But, he explained, he genuinely missed fashion. “I hated not creating something. I really missed what I was doing,” he said. Why menswear? Ford, wearing a black three-piece suit that’s a slightly looser fit than we saw in the sleek Gucci days, said he had trouble finding things for his own wardrobe. He even called himself his muse.

Ford, 45, talks vaguely about future stores in London, Milan and Dubai, but he wouldn’t reveal any plans during his preview this week.