On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
Around the same time that he was working as the Creative Director of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, fashion designer Tom Ford admitted that he was drunk all the time. “I was a highly functioning alcoholic,” he confessed in a Mr Porter interview. “I think I did a lot of things creatively that I probably wouldn’t have done had I been sober. In the end, they kind of all worked to my advantage.”
Under Ford’s creative direction, Gucci grew from a struggling fashion house in the early ’90s to being valued at more than $4 billion in 1999. “He controlled everything — not just the design, not just the runway shows, but the stores, the advertising, the packaging, the bags that people carried out the doors,” said Patrick McCarthy, chairman of the fashion publisher Fairchild Publications. “He was a complete control freak, and that’s what made the company successful.”
However, in 2004, after a dispute over control, Ford parted ways with Gucci. As a result of his departure, ABC News reported that Gucci had to hire four people to replace Ford’s role. After leaving Gucci, Ford fell into depression, “when you’re depressed you drink more and when you drink more you get more depressed” he told the Evening Standard. “And along with the drinks there were drugs. And when you have that kind of high you also have that kind of low.”
In 2006, after sobering up, Ford launched his own luxury brand, which included a line of menswear, beauty, eyewear, and accessories. He also made his directorial debut with Academy Award-nominated film A Single Man in 2009.
These days, he leads a much healthier life — no alcohol, less parties, more nights in bed watching TV with his husband, Richard Buckley. There’s also more time spent with their son, Jack, born in 2012 via IVF and a surrogate.
On most mornings, Ford is up at 4.30am and the first thing he does is weigh himself. “I do this every morning, and if I have gained more than two or three pounds, I try to eat fruit and vegetables exclusively for a couple of days until my weight is back to my ideal,” he told Harper’s Bazaar.
He’ll then make himself a large cup of iced coffee and do some work and answer emails until 6am. He’ll then make himself another cup of iced coffee and run a bath. “I lay in my bathtub with a bendable straw in my coffee and no lights and only one candle lit,” he told Mr Porter. “I love that time in the morning when no one else is awake, and I’m alone, and then I can slowly come to life.”
At around 7.30am, he’ll spend some time having breakfast with Richard and Jack, before leaving for the office at 9am, with his “uniform” on, “a white shirt, a dark tie, a gold collar pin, a black or dark-gray single-breasted peaked-lapel suit, and black cap-toed shoes.”
As president and CEO of the company, I spend a good bit of my day in business and design meetings. These might be women’s ready-to-wear fittings, men’s fittings, handbag-prototype reviews, footwear fittings, jewelry-design meetings, cosmetics meetings, or eyewear meetings. I tend to work on several different product categories on the same day. My executive team is scattered around the world, in London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Florence, Hong Kong, and Tokyo offices. Consequently, our meetings are often via Skype.My List: Tom Ford in 24 Hours | Harper’s Bazaar
Unlike other famous fashion designers, Ford hates going out for lunch because it throws him off his rhythm, preferring to stay in the office, “I wander around the design studio with a plate in my hand as I dine on, for example, salmon sashimi and a salad of tomatoes and mozzarella.”
Most days, Ford leaves the office between 6-8pm and usually has to go out for the obligatory cocktail or dinner party, although he admits he’s not a fan of them and prefers quiet evenings spent at home with his family instead. By midnight, he’s usually in bed hoping to catch a few hours of sleep.
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