Why Tom Ford Refused to Put His Own Brand in ‘Nocturnal Animals’

You might think Tom Ford’s film “Nocturnal Animals” was the perfect platform for the designer-director to promote his own label, but it turns out that’s far from the case.

Arianne Phillips, the film’s costume designer, revealed to Footwear News earlier this month at the Art of Motion Picture Design costume exhibition at FIDM Museum in Los Angeles that no Tom Ford pieces actually appeared in the film, which was released in November. 

Phillips said everything was made especially for the film’s star, Amy Adams, although she did wear a pair of Tom Ford brand shoes. Some of the looks Adams wears are Tom Ford-inspired, since Phillips says Adams character would be a woman who would wear the label.

Adams’ character, Susan, is a wealthy Los Angeles gallery owner fully immersed in a luxurious, materialistic world that she was raised to believe would be ideal, only to find the opposite.

Amy Adams Nocturnal Animals
Amy Adams in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals.”
CREDIT: Merrick Morton/Focus Features

During a panel discussion in January, Ford elaborated further: “It may seem strange having a fashion designer talk about this film because one of the themes of the film is the materialistic world [Susan] lives in and its emptiness,” he said. “That’s something that I struggle with. I’m past the point Susan is, and I’ve come to terms with it. We are in a material world. Certain fabrics feel good; certain things smell great. It’s wonderful to be able to enjoy them but you can’t lose sight of the bigger things in life: connections to people and spirituality.”

amy adams nocturnal animals wardrobe
Amy Adams in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals.”
CREDIT: Merrick Morton/Focus Features
"Nocturnal Animals" costumes at FIDM Museum's 25th annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition in Los Angeles, open to the public through April 22.
“Nocturnal Animals” costumes at FIDM Museum’s 25th annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition in Los Angeles, open to the public through April 22.
CREDIT: Courtesy of FIDM/Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

Phillips explained that Ford wanted the audience to focus on the work, not his clothes.

“Tom is not directing movies to sell clothes, so it was important to him that we didn’t use his brand so that it didn’t take the audience out of the movie,” Phillips said. “There’s a scene where [Adams is] reading a script and she’s got glasses on — I wanted her to wear a chic pair of Tom Ford sunglasses. He said ‘no’ because you can see the logo. He wants to be taken seriously as a director and doesn’t want to undermine all of that hard work to look like he’s selling product.”

amy adams nocturnal animals
Amy Adams in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Focus Features.
amy adams nocturnal animals wardrobe
Amy Adams wears boots in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals.”
CREDIT: Merrick Morton/Focus Features

While there was plenty of fashion to love for Adams’ character, Phillips said her favorite piece in the film was the kelly green cowboy boots worn by Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character.

“When I saw those cowboy boots, it spoke to me,” Phillips said. “He’s grungy and wears jeans. [They] became one of my most favorite things in the movie. It created a silhouette of someone completely unpredictable.”

Aaron Taylor-Jackson nocturnal animals
Jake Gyllenhaal (left) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in green cowboy boots in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals.”
CREDIT: Merrick Morton/Focus Features

“Nocturnal Animals” is up for one Academy Award this weekend: Michael Shannon, one of its stars, is nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role.

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