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Tom Ford isn't afraid of speaking openly about sex. So it's no surprise that the man who brought sexy back to Gucci and broke all the rules with the rise of his own fashion empire didn't shy from talking about his coming of age in debauchery-filled, Studio 54-era New York City, and how the current generation of fashion designers should know their gay history. Out's fearless leader and editor in chief, Aaron Hicklin, got the scoop in these exclusive outtakes from the November issue.
Out: You haven't played down your sexuality -- if anything you've accentuated it, which stands in contrast to many other designers.
Tom Ford: I think the designers of my generation and younger are clearly open about their sexuality, because we benefit from everyone who came before us who had not such an easy time. We benefit from Stonewall and from the '70s. When I came to New York in the '70s, being gay became chic for a while and straight men would occasionally sleep with men because they thought it was cool, it was glamorous.
Out: Were you prepared for that when you arrived in New York?
I'd never slept with a man when I arrived in New York but I grew up in a town that was very liberal -- my parents had a lot of gay friends. It was a hippy art town and fairly sophisticated for a small town in America. My grandmother and mother were always reading W and Vogue, so I was looking at those party pictures thinking that I couldn't wait to get there and get myself to one of those nightclubs.