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Richard Buckley, Longtime Fashion Journalist and Husband of Tom Ford, Dies at 72


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Richard Buckley, the veteran fashion writer and editor and husband of designer and movie director Tom Ford, has died. He was 72.

His death on Sunday was announced by Ford’s representatives in a statement: “It is with great sadness that Tom Ford announces the death of his beloved husband of 35 years, Richard Buckley. Richard passed away peacefully at their home in Los Angeles last night with Tom and their son Jack by his side. He died of natural causes after a prolonged illness.”

Buckley contributed to New York magazine and served as fashion editor at Women’s Wear Daily, social editor at Vanity Fair and European editor of Mirabella magazine. He was editor-in-chief of Vogue Hommes International for six years until resigning in 2005.

“A man with ramrod straight posture and piercing blue eyes, Buckley’s inquisitiveness knew few, if any, bounds, and he somehow managed to tap into what would be influencing men’s fashions not only a season ahead, but several seasons ahead,” Women’s Wear Daily wrote.

“And he would do it all with a quietly diligent, soft-spoken manner that endeared him to almost everyone he met — and that hid a sense of humor that delighted in spotting the absurd or that could make even the most cutting remark come across with seeming kindness.”

In the 1990s, he wrote for the International Herald Tribune on such topics as men’s fashion taking “a feminine and sexy turn” in 1997 and the ephemeral quality of hipness: “Hip and cool, terms once used to set people apart for their anti-establishment, individualist attitudes have now been co-opted as something extremely salable to the globally merchandised mainstream.”

Born in Binghamton, New York, Buckley was raised in a military family. After graduating from the University of Maryland in Munich, he joined New York magazine in 1979. Three years later, he was hired as the European editor of Fairchild Publications’ Daily News Record, a menswear magazine, in Paris.

In 1986, he returned to New York for a job as editor-in-chief at Scene, a new publication from Fairchild, and also served as fashion editor at WWD. He joined Tina Brown at Vanity Fair two years later.

In a story about his departure from Vogue Hommes International, WWD wrote that he had made the magazine “synonymous with smart, themed issues and controversial fashion shoots depicting men in lipstick, cavorting with prostitutes or locked behind bars.”

Ford, now 60, was working for sportswear designer Cathy Hardwick in 1986 when he first met Buckley in an elevator at a fashion show hosted by a mutual friend, David Cameron. He described his eyes as “the color of water.”

“By the time that elevator landed on the ground floor, I thought, ‘You’re the one.’ That’s it. Click. Sold.’ It was literally one of those things,” Ford told Jess Cagle in a 2017 interview.

The two had their son in 2012 and married on New Year’s Eve in 2014. Buckley had battled throat cancer, first diagnosed in 1989.

“Tom’s the perfect modern gentleman,” Buckley said in 2011. “We’re both old-fashioned that way. We both stand for ladies at the table and open doors for people. If you have good manners, people notice. And they appreciate it. You’re showing respect for them.”

Asked by Cagle for advice on how to keep a relationship healthy, Ford replied: “If the person you are with is someone you respect, who you believe has a great heart and a great soul — as good a heart and soul as you will ever find — don’t ever leave them, because you won’t find anyone better.”

Degen Pener contributed to this report.

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