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Ford said he thinks his brand has performed well because its craftsmanship and quality still speak to customers, even in tough economic times.
“Our clothes are expensive but they’re as beautifully made as clothes can be made in today’s world, and so I think people perceive that value. They don’t just feel disposable; they don’t feel like an empty trend,” he said. “Our customer has been a little bit insulated, meaning of course they’ve lost money like everyone else, but they’re still in a much better position than other people. They may not be buying a new apartment or a new painting, but they’re still buying clothes.”
On Monday night, Ford attended the Asian premiere of “A Single Man” at the Tokyo International Film Festival. He posed for a brief photo op before the movie played to a packed house, then fielded audience members’ questions. Ford directed, coproduced and cowrote the film with David Scearce. As reported, the film is based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood and stars Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Matthew Goode. It tracks a day in the life of a gay English professor mourning the death of his longtime lover. The Weinstein Co. will distribute the film, which was screened at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, winning rave reviews.
Ford said the Isherwood book spoke to him in the wake of his dramatic departure from Gucci in 2004, when he was coming to terms with a neglected “spiritual side” of his life.
“Certainly our Western culture is so materialistic and…I know this is hard to justify coming from a fashion designer who is very much involved in creating artificial need and desire in customers,” he said. “We are material creatures and we do touch things and see things and feel things. If you keep all that in perspective and you realize that things are just things, I think it’s OK. Fashion can add to your life. Beautiful things can add to your life, but you can’t ever become trapped by them and believe they are really the key to happiness.”
Ford is planning to do more films in the future, but he said he wants to wait until the string of premieres and publicity for “A Single Man” wraps before he starts a new project in earnest.
“I’m working on something that I’m writing from scratch, but I need some distance. This was so personal to me, and I don’t want to just make movies. I want to make movies that say something and mean something and that I’m as excited about as I was this one. So I need to see this one through,” Ford said, although he dropped at least one hint about his next cinematic endeavor.
“I’ll need to make my next movie in London because that’s where my design studio is, and it was a little hard making [“A Single Man”] in L.A. because my design team had to come with suitcases full of clothes on the weekends for fittings,” he said, adding he’s moving to a new office in London that will have plenty of space so he can multitask on both fashion and film.
“I can edit for four hours; I can go to a fitting for four hours, [and] I can go back to the editing room if it’s all set up in my office,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ford is waiting to see just how many accolades his cinematic debut will rack up. Already, Firth snagged the best actor prize at the Venice Film Festival, and there’s talk he could be an Oscar contender.
“I’m crossing my fingers and touching wood,” he said, giving the table in front of him a tap. “You never know. If that happens, great. If it doesn’t happen, I’m very, very happy with the response that we’ve had.”