I love the title. "What I’ve Learned". My God, I don’t know if I’ve ever learned anything. I’ve learned that I know nothing.
British people still wear clothes. By clothes I mean actual clothes: jackets and shirts and ties and suits. The spirit of Beau Brummell is still visible. English men make an effort. We’ve lost that in the US. Everyone is more concerned with being comfortable. They have to be. Outside of the east coast and the west coast, they’re of a much larger size.
Percy Pigs. I like the original pink ones. Percy Pig and Pals, Reversy Percy, Phizzy Pig Tails – I don’t like. God knows what they’re made of.
I say “hate” a lot. “Oh, I hate that, I hate that, I hate that.” When “I dislike that” or “I don’t love that” would do. “I hate those shoes.” “I hate that heel.” “I hate that toe.” “I hate that lapel.” “I hate that collar.” “I hate the way that dress drapes.” “I hate those shoulder pads.” “I hate those rhinestones.” “I hate that zipper.” “I hate how that works.” “I hate this fabric.” “I hate that.” Because that’s my job. “Fix it, fix it, fix it, fix it, fix it, fix it.”
Having a child seemed very natural.
One trend frightens me. Someone actually just came into my office [wearing it] and I said, “Go home right now.” And that’s the length of pant that’s sort of mid-calf. It appeared on Big Brother about eight years ago and made it onto the street. There’s nothing wrong with ankles. But only if you’re playing football in the park.
In the early Seventies, I had shoulder-length hair, bell-bottom pants, love beads and shirts that laced up at the front. But then I smartened up.
I’m a pretty calm person. That came from living in Italy for a long time. Nothing works, nothing is on time. You have to learn to deal with it.
I started off thinking [my son, Alexander] was only going to have wooden toys, and everything was going to be grey. But I had to give up on that. Now his room is filled with frightening-coloured plastic toys. That’s just life. He needs those colours and I’m going to have to deal with it. I also swore that I would never have the pram sitting in the entry hall. But it’s easier than bringing it up the stairs. So there it sits. With some frightening toys clipped to it.
The most important thing a man can do is exercise and maintain his weight. Because that’s the key to looking youthful.
I was bullied every day at school because I carried a briefcase. I could have left it at home. But I thought it looked great! I didn’t understand why anyone else didn’t think so.
I was lucky that I made it to the last hurrah of the disco era. I moved to New York from New Mexico when I was 17. It was pre-Aids. It was a time of drugs and alcohol, of escaping from my family. You can have all the sex you want because you don’t know that there’s anything lurking around the corner. You’re drinking a lot. You’re doing drugs and going to nightclubs and you look great and your skin looks great – you’re attractive... doesn’t that sound good?
I don’t shout. Shouting is wasted energy. It embarrasses people in front of other people.
Becoming teetotal completely altered my life. Without it I wouldn’t have the business that I have now, or been able to finish my film [A Single Man (2009)]. I wouldn’t have my son. I was drinking to escape. Self-medicating, as they call it. You can’t deal with your problems and correct your life when you’re escaping. You have to say, “This isn’t working, I need to change this.” Now I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And my skin looks better, too.
A penis challenges us. Full-frontal male nudity freaks us out. Maybe men more than women. Men think, “Oh my God, this is bigger than mine.”
The secret to a long-term relationship? Choose someone great to begin with, then stick it out.
I was an intern at the Chloé press office. Packing shoes. Wrapping shoes with tissue paper. Labelling them and putting them back on the shoe rack. That was about all I did.
iPads at the dinner table. No, no, no, no, no, no.
Women’s fashion takes more of your time than men’s fashion does. Men’s operates in a very tight box. The lapel can change a little. Women’s swings rapidly from season to season until you have to throw out everything and just start over.
I was taken to the emergency room when I was 14, because I put cucumbers on my eyes to try and hide the bags. That’s when I learned I was allergic to cucumbers.
I don’t know what vain means. For me, vain means when you look in the mirror and say, “Wow! I’m amazing.” I built a career out of noticing imperfections and correcting them. I notice imperfections in a shoe heel, a shoe toe, a dress, a skirt, a pair of pants. I correct them.
I had a tiny bit of fashion training, but not really. I had no formal training as a film director either.
You can’t worry about teenagers looking at people having sex online – they’re going to. What I find fascinating is: you’re watching YouPorn or RedTube and it’s a world where everyone is having sex the same way. It starts with a kiss, then a blow job… 100 years ago there were probably many different forms. Sex was something that people discovered together. Maybe things that were even more perverse.
I try on everything we make. The easiest thing for me to design is men’s suits because I am the model size, age and income level for our clothes. So I design them for myself.
I really was not a good child. I didn’t feel appropriate. I really wanted to be an adult.
If I were straight and I were trying to seduce a woman, I could do it just by standing up at the table when she came back from the bathroom. It works. Every time I do that, all the straight men are sitting at the table and their wives are kicking them. “Look at that!” “You never do that for me!” “Oh, that’s so nice.” Richard [Buckley, Ford’s fashion journalist partner] does it, too. It was drilled into us by our mums. If I didn’t pull out a chair for my mother when she came to the table, or opened the car door for her... that wasn’t cool.
Some people look great in aviators. I happen to look great in aviators.
I don’t think my clothes are too expensive. Sometimes we actually take lower margins than we should, so we can offer the best quality at a reasonable price. So many of our things are made with a large degree of handiwork: 36 hours for our suits. Our shoes sit on lasts for three weeks.
A good trick as you get older is to get a thick pair of glasses that have a dark frame. Everything else can droop and slide but that pair of dark glasses stays sharp and crisp. Look at Cary Grant. Look at Vidal Sassoon.
I don’t like showers. Why do anything standing up that you could do lying down?