Fashion - Fashion editor Richard Buckley, husband to designer Tom Ford, dies at 72
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Fashion editor Richard Buckley, husband to designer Tom Ford, dies at 72


Story by Hannah Yasharoff

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Published on September 24, 2021 9:32 AM
 
The couple was together for 27 years before they officially married in London in 2014. They have one child, son Alexander Buckley worked his way up in the fashion journalism world, with stints at New York Magazine, Women's Wear Daily and Vanity Fair before becoming the editor of Vogue Hommes International (the international version of Men's Vogue).
 
Richard Buckley, a renowned fashion editor and husband to designer Tom Ford, has died "of natural causes after a long illness," his family confirmed to USA TODAY. He was 72.

"It is with great sadness that Tom Ford announces the death of his beloved husband of 35 years, Richard Buckley," read a statement from their family provided by Alexandra Nourafchan, a representative for Ford. "Richard passed away peacefully at their home in Los Angeles Sunday night with Tom and their son ...

Richard Buckley (journalist)

Richard Buckley was an American fashion journalist and editor. Buckley wrote for Vogue Italia and New York magazine, and worked as an editor for Women's Wear Daily, Vanity Fair, and Vogue Hommes, the latter of which he was editor-in-chief from 1999 to 2005. Buckley was born in Binghamton, New York, and was educated at the University of Maryland's Munich campus. He was the husband of designer Tom Ford; they had a son, born in 2012 via gestational surrogacy.

Buckley died at his home in Los Angeles after a long illness on September 19, 2021, at age 72.

Tom Ford

Thomas Carlyle Ford is an American fashion designer and filmmaker. He launched his eponymous luxury brand in 2005, having previously served as the creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Ford wrote and directed the Academy Award–nominated films A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals . He currently serves as the chairman of the Board of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Early life
Thomas Carlyle Ford was born on August 27, 1961, in Austin, Texas, the son of realtors Shirley Burton and Thomas David Ford. He spent his early life in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, and in San Marcos, outside Austin. He rearranged furniture in the house at 6, and gave his mother feedback on her hair and shoes. His family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, when he was 11. In Santa Fe, he entered St. Michael's High School and later moved to Santa Fe Preparatory School, from which he graduated in 1979.

At age 16, he enrolled at Bard College at Simon's Rock, but quickly dropped out. He moved to New York City to study art history at New York University . There he met Ian Falconer, who took him to Studio 54 for the first time. Ford dropped out after a year, focusing on acting in television commercials.

Ford began studying interior architecture at The New School's art and design college, Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. He kept visiting Studio 54, where he realized he was gay. The club's disco-era glamor would be a major influence on his later designs. Before his last year at New School, Ford spent a year and a half in Paris, where he worked as an intern in Chloé's press office, inspiring his interest in fashion. He spent his final year at The New School studying fashion, but graduated with a degree in architecture.

Early career
When interviewing for jobs after graduation, Ford said that he had attended The New School's Parsons division, but concealed that he graduated in architecture, and that his work at Chloé was a low-level public relations position. Despite his lack of experience in fashion, Ford called American designer Cathy Hardwick every day for a month in hopes of securing a job at her sportswear company. Hardwick eventually agreed to interview him. She later recalled the incident: 'I had every intention of giving him no hope. I asked him who his favorite European designers were. He said, 'Armani and Chanel.' Months later I asked him why he said that, and he said, 'Because you were wearing something Armani.' Is it any wonder he got the job?' Ford worked as a design assistant for Hardwick for two years.

In 1988, Ford moved to Perry Ellis, where he knew both Robert McDonald, the company's president, and Marc Jacobs, its designer, socially. He worked at the company for two years, but grew tired of working in American fashion. In a later interview with The New York Times, he commented, 'If I was ever going to become a good designer, I had to leave America. My own culture was inhibiting me. Too much style in America is tacky. It's looked down upon to be too stylish. Europeans, however, appreciate style.'

At the time, Italian fashion house Gucci was struggling financially and was seeking to strengthen its women's ready-to-wear presence as a part of a brand overhaul. The company's creative director, Dawn Mello said, 'no one would dream of wearing Gucci'. In 1990, Mello hired Ford as the brand's chief women's ready-to-wear designer and Ford moved to Milan. 'I was talking to a lot of people, and most didn't want the job,' Mello said. 'For an American designer to move to Italy to join a company that was far from being a brand would have been pretty risky.' Ford and his longtime partner, fashion journalist Richard Buckley, relocated to Milan that September.

Ford's role at Gucci rapidly expanded; he was designing menswear within six months, and shoes soon after that. When Richard Lambertson left as design director in 1992, Ford took over his position, heading the brand's ready-to-wear, fragrances, image, advertising, and store design. In 1993, when he was in charge of designing eleven product lines, Ford worked eighteen-hour days. During these years, there were creative tensions between Ford and Maurizio Gucci, the company's chairman and 50% owner. According to Mello, 'Maurizio always wanted everything to be round and brown, and Tom wanted to make it square and black.' Though Maurizio Gucci wanted to fire Ford, Domenico De Sole insisted that he remain. Nonetheless, Ford's work during the early 1990s was primarily behind the scenes; his contributions to Gucci were overshadowed by those of Mello, who was the company's public face.

Creative Director of Gucci and Saint Laurent
In 1994, Ford was promoted to Creative Director of Gucci. In his first year at the helm, he introduced Halston-style velvet hipsters, skinny satin shirts and car-finish metallic patent boots. In 1995, he brought in French stylist Carine Roitfeld and photographer Mario Testino to create a series of new ad campaigns for the company. Between 1995 and 1996, sales at Gucci increased by 90%. At one point, Ford was the largest individual shareholder of Gucci stock and options. By 1999, the house, which had been almost bankrupt when Ford joined, was valued at more than $4 billion.

When Gucci acquired the house of Yves Saint Laurent in 1999, Ford was named Creative Director of that label as well. Saint Laurent did not hide his displeasure with Ford's designs, stating 'The poor man does what he can.' During his time as creative director for YSL, Ford nonetheless won numerous Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards. Like his work at Gucci, which included shaving the letter G in a model's pubic hair, Ford was able to pull the classic fashion house back into the mainstream. His advertising campaigns for the YSL fragrances Opium and YSL M7 were controversial and provocative.

In April 2004, Ford parted ways with the Gucci group after he and CEO Domenico de Sole, who is credited as Ford's partner in Gucci's success, failed to agree with Pinault Printemps Redoute's boss over control of the Group. He has since referred to this experience as 'devastating' and as a 'midlife crisis' because he had 'put everything into that for fifteen years'. When Ford left in 2004, Gucci Group was valued at $10 billion. Four people were hired to split the work Ford had done.

Tom Ford label
After leaving Gucci, Ford launched a line of menswear, beauty, eyewear, and accessories in 2005, named after himself. De Sole became chairman of the label. Ford has described 'the Tom Ford customer' as international, cultured, well-traveled, and possessing disposable income. For women, he added 'strong women, … intelligent women who know their own style'.

First Lady Michelle Obama wore an ivory floor-length evening gown designed by Ford to Buckingham Palace in 2011. He has also dressed Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, Daniel Craig, Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling, Will Smith, Julianne Moore, Hugh Jackman, Jon Hamm, and Henry Cavill. Ford designed Daniel Craig's suits for his final four James Bond films: Quantum of Solace , Skyfall , Spectre , and No Time to Die .

In 2013, Ford was mentioned in Justin Timberlake's song 'Suit & Tie', which was a collaboration with Jay-Z. Ford created the suits, shirts, and accessories for the Grammy winning 'Suit & Tie' music video. He went on to dress Timberlake's 20/20 Experience World Tour, designing over 600 pieces for the tour. The same year, Jay-Z released a song titled 'Tom Ford' with 'Tom Ford' rapped numerous times within the song. Ford responded that he was flattered and 'it means that one has really penetrated and made an impact on popular culture.' Following the song's release, Ford received a huge spike in online search engine queries. The song would go on to sell over a million copies and become certified platinum.

In May 2019, Ford's design for an evening gown was featured in the 2019 Met Gala in New York as worn by Hollywood actor Gemma Chan on the runway and staircase of the event.

Controversies
Ford has been criticized for using naked women in various ad campaigns. Various journalists asserted that the ads were vulgar, sexist, or objectified women. One ad featured a nude woman holding a bottle of the perfume between her legs. Another featured a naked woman ironing a man's pants while he read a newspaper. A separate ad was banned in Italy.

Responding to criticism that he objectified women, Ford stated he is an 'equal opportunity objectifier' and is 'just as happy to objectify men'. He argued 'you can't show male nudity in our culture in the way you can show female nudit'y and pointed out that he did a male nude ad while at Yves Saint Laurent which got pulled.

In 2014, Ford released a new product, called the 'Penis Pendant Necklace'. The product caused some controversy, with Christians calling it offensive due to the pendant being shaped similar to a Christian cross or crucifix. Ford replied that 'it was not meant to be a cross, it was a phallus' and 'people read into things what they want to'.

Personal life
Ford married Richard Buckley in 2014, a journalist and former editor in chief of Vogue Hommes International; they had been in a relationship since meeting in 1986. The couple have a son, Alexander John 'Jack' Buckley Ford, born in September 2012 via gestational surrogate. The family lived in Italy, where Ford moved from New York in 1990, and in London for 17 years. They lived in his residences in New York, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, and London. Ford and Buckley have owned smooth fox terriers, which have appeared on the runway and in his film A Single Man. Ford also has a nephew with whom he shares a strong bond named Alex Ford Davis, the son of his sister.

Ford constructed a 24,000-acre private tract designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, in Santa Fe. It is called Cerro Pelon Ranch and has additional structures that were designed by Marmol Radziner. The property also has a fictional town known as Silverado that is used as a filming location for Western movies.

He told Vogue he had adopted a vegan diet after viewing a Netflix documentary called What the Health. As of 2019, he has been a teetotaler and has been open about using fillers and Botox.

He has said in multiple interviews that his first lover was the artist Ian Falconer, who went on to write and illustrate the very popular Olivia the Pig children's book series. Ford maintains that he and Falconer are still good friends; decades after their breakup, Ford lent Falconer's last name to the title character of his first movie, A Single Man .

Richard Buckley died on September 19, 2021 at the age of 72 after a long illness.