Is it Tom Ford?

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(Photo credit: The New York Times)

Watching ‘Nocturnal Animals’ for the second time wasn’t any less terrifying or devastating than the first. The long awaited follow-up to ‘A Single Man’ from 2009 is Tom Ford’s second movie, proving that he knows movies as much as he does fashion. It is a powerful movie, connecting three different stories into one, blending culture, art and complicated love relationships into a unique movie that will surely leave you speechless. Now, I know I am not a movie expert (trust me, I am not!) but I certainly know a thing or two about fashion. However, this was a test I failed. Miserably, I might add. I could almost swear that Tom Ford personally designed each suit and dress worn by the main characters. (A hint: he most certainly did NOT!) The costumes were designed by the talented costume designer Arianne Phillips who, believe it or not, decided not to use designer clothes in the movie, especially the ones designed by Tom Ford himself.

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(Nocturnal Animals, movie scenes)

Amy Adams, who plays Susan Morrow (a glitterati running a classy art gallery) wears a lot of provocative dresses, yet at the same time she knows how to work her power suits and cashmere knits. It might look like her closet is full of Prada, Gucci or Balmain, but it’s not. ‘I kind of went into it going, ‘Oh great, we can use Tom Ford!’ But Tom was very clear that he didn’t want to take the audience out of the film by branding his film. It’s not an advertisement for him to sell his clothes. So we made a very conscious choice not to use Tom Ford.’ (Arianne Phillips)

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(Nocturnal Animals, movie scenes)

Although, Phillips’s costumes do sort of boast a provenance in Tom Ford, the fashion brand. ‘[Ford] did make his atelier available to me’, she added. ‘We did build some of [Adams’s] costumes at his atelier, which was a benefit not any director’s ever had [and] that we’ve ever had before. But they weren’t branded pieces that were any part of any collection.’ Phillips does, however, credit Ford’s prolific fashion design experience for a set of transferable skills that help make both of them better storytellers.

Now, let’s switch to art.

At the very beginning of the movie you cannot (unless you’re a complete art obliviant) but notice the large-scale silver balloon dog sculpture by Jeff Koons. Being absolutely one of Ford’s favorite artists, it is no wonder he chose his work for this movie. The self-proclaimed ‘most written-about artist in the world’ keeps mesmerizing Ford into an extent that he continuously finds inspiration in his ingenious creations. ‘Sometimes I think that what he’s saying is really the most intelligent thing I’ve heard. And at other times I’m really not sure whether he’s just not totally full of shit.’ (Tom Ford) Ever since Ford left Gucci Group, where he worked as the creative director (and where he was known as a complete control freak), he moved quickly to many different things- some of them related to the world of art. Fascinated by a certain link between fashion and the work Jeff does, he always felt it was his job as a fashion designer to figure out what was going on in culture and then to respond to it. ‘Jeff’s work speaks to that. His most recent paintings have a collage effect and when I look at them, I just feel bombarded with image. There’s a chaotic quality, very slick, surfacey-smooth.’, Ford stated.

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(At the premiere of Nocturnal Animals- Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams and Tom Ford, photo credit: Vanity Fair)

This movie, like any other, combines fashion and art in a perfect, mutual-understanding, synthesis. Other than the few scenes that will make you puke and cry at the same time, I think you will enjoy the perfect minimalism Ford achieved. Did you really expect anything less from him?

Cover Photo credit: Tom Ford and Amy Adams, Vanity Fair