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Tom Ford says he was “deeply sad” after watching House of Gucci


By Holly O'Neill
29th Nov 2021
Tom Ford says he was “deeply sad” after watching House of Gucci

The designer Tom Ford applauded the performances of the actors, the beauty of the film and shared some delicious details about what it was really like working for the house at the time, but ultimately, he says that “it was hard for me to see the humor and camp in something that was so bloody.”

Fashion designer and filmmaker Tom Ford has shared his views on Ridley Scott’s film House of Gucci in an essay for Air Mail. The legendary designer is the former creative director of Gucci and began working at Gucci in 1990 before being appointed creative director of the house from 1994 to 2004.

Tom Ford writes that though his “opinion is perhaps biased,” he felt as though he had “lived through a hurricane” after watching the film.

“I knew Maurizio Gucci well and worked with him for four of the years that are covered in this film,” he writes. “I also knew many of the other players in this saga and was interviewed on multiple occasions for the book that was the source material for the film, so it is hard for me to divorce reality from the glossy, heavily lacquered soap opera that I witnessed on-screen.”

“As with most films based on a true story, facts are altered, characters are exaggerated, timelines warped—and, in the end, who cares as long as these alterations yield a great movie?”

In the essay, Tom Ford praises the many acclaimed actors in the cast for their performances, calling Lady Gaga’s portrayal of Patrizia Gucci “over-the-top” but her performance “spot-on” and applauds the film’s “impeccable costumes, stunning sets, and beautiful cinematography.” He critiques the film’s focus on leading actors, saying that as a result, there’s no character development, “and thus we have little attachment to—or empathy for—any of them. The result, sadly, is a story in which we identify with no one.”

The designer, who is played in a few scenes by actor Reeve Carney, took issue with a scene involving himself and Maurizio Gucci. “Maurizio had been bought out of the company by the time I assumed the position of creative director of Gucci and had my first hit collection,” writes Ford. “He certainly never toasted me after that show as he does in the film.”

He shares some delicious details of what it was really like in his early days working for the house, saying that Maurizio – played by Driver, “was much more interesting in life” but “a terrible businessman, and he squeezed the company dry. He often tied up the entire design team for weeks making new uniforms for the crew of his yacht, Creole, rather than leaving us alone to design the collection.” Aldo, played by Al Pacino was “an elegant and savvy businessman,” writes Ford, but “had a slight aversion to paying his taxes.” Ford writes that Paolo, played by Jared Leto, was “not like the crazed and seemingly mentally challenged character of Leto’s performance”, but references a moment in the film where Paolo pees on “the famed Gucci Flora scarf created for Princess Grace.” “I was jealous of that,” writes Ford. “It was something that I always wanted to do myself, as I was constantly being asked to try to revive that damned scarf.”

Ford says that he felt “deeply sad for several days” after watching the film. “It was hard for me to see the humor and camp in something that was so bloody. In real life, none of it was camp. It was at times absurd, but ultimately it was tragic.”

Patrizia Gucci has also shared that the Gucci family weren’t entirely happy with the portrayal of the story. Speaking to AP she said, “We are truly disappointed. I speak on behalf of the family. They are stealing the identity of a family to make a profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system.”

Director Ridley Scott dismissed the criticism, saying to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “I don’t engage with that. You have to remember that one Gucci was murdered and another went to jail for tax evasion so you can’t be talking to me about making a profit.”

Read Tom Ford’s essay for Air Mail here.

Photography by @ladygaga.