Tom Ford Reacts to Being Called Fashion’s "King of Sex" and Criticisms for Objectifying Women

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Pop quiz! What’s the first word that comes to your mind when I say Tom Ford?

Did you think sexy?

That’s the word we came up with over here at the Glamour offices today.The designer who made his name bringing serious sizzle to at the creative helm of Gucci, working at the label from 1990 until 2004, overseeing an infamous ad where a model’s pubic hair was artfully shaved into the brand’s then-new logo (for fragrance, he’s shot bottles nestled between glistening breasts), it’s not unlikely that sexy is a word that is deeply connected with Ford…not to mention his eponymous brand’s ads, some of which include mini padlocks barely covering a model’s most private parts.

Some have said that he objectifies women. To those critics, Ford says:

“I’m an equal-opportunity objectifier. I’m just as happy to objectify men,” he told The Guardian. “The thing is, you can’t show male nudity in our culture the way you can show female nudity.” He’s speaking from personal experience, having worked on a Saint Laurent ad, when he was creative director there, that showed a full-frontal nude male; it ran in some European publications before being banned.

When it comes to the super-sexy way he portrays women, it’s all about power to him. “There’s nothing stronger and more powerful than a beautiful woman,” he said. “I don’t think expressing what nature intended you to be is anything but powerful. My women are not sitting there waiting for someone, they’re taking charge.” I really like this sentiment, and it’s got me thinking: Even if a woman is wearing a cut-to-there dress and flashing more cleavage than is appropriate for daytime, is she really portraying herself as an object, or is she simply embracing her body, her confidence her sexuality? Is a demurely dressed woman under-confident? That’s not to say that demure dressing says a woman isn’t confident; it’s simply a different way of looking at how you present yourself. And I agree with Ford: There is nothing wrong with showing some skin and being sexy.

While the designer clearly doesn’t like the idea of his sexy brand being regarded as negative to women, he’s not going to stop supporting the primal push of sexuality either.

“Sensuality and sexuality is what drives so much. If you’re of a certain age and you go out at night and you’re single, then what’s the end goal there?” he asked.

“You’re at a bar looking beautiful, the light’s great, you’re chatting with people. You might not meet someone you’re going to sleep with that night, but you connect. It’s what drives many things. It’s part of being human.”

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