Richard Buckley, the longtime fashion journalist and fashion designer Tom Ford’s husband and partner of over three decades, has died. He was 72 years old.
According to a statement from Ford’s representatives, Buckley “died of natural causes after a long illness” on the evening of Sunday, September 19, 2021.
“It is with great sadness that Tom Ford announces the death of his beloved husband of 35 years, Richard Buckley,” Ford’s eponymous fashion brand said in a release. “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 was a titan of the fashion media world with a career spanning over 25 years, writing for every major fashion publication throughout his career including New York Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, Vanity Fair and Vogue Hommes International.
Buckley and Ford met in 1986 and went on to become a fashion power couple in the 1990s, after Ford was hired at Gucci as a womenswear designer in 1990 and promoted to creative director in 1994. The pair lived and worked in fashion capitals around the world throughout their relationship, including stints in Milan and Paris.
In celebration of the life and career of Richard Buckley, here are ten things that you might not have known about the renowned fashion editor and journalist.
1. Buckley was born on August 20, 1948 in Binghamton, New York. He was raised as part of a military family and grew up in New York, France, and Germany. After graduating from the University of Maryland in Munich, Germany he began to pursue a career in journalism.
2. Buckley began his career in fashion journalism at New York Magazine in 1979. In 1982, he moved to Paris as the European editor of Fairchild Publications’ Daily New Record, the men’s wear counterpart to WWD. It was there that he earned an industry reputation for his keen eye for spotting menswear trends several seasons before they hit the runway.
3. He held numerous coveted positions in the industry, including fashion editor at Women’s Wear Daily, social editor at Vanity Fair, European editor of the now defunct Mirabella magazine and also regularly contributed to Italian Vogue. He was named editor-in-chief of Vogue Hommes International in 1999 and took the magazine to new heights before stepping down in 2005.
4. In 1986, Buckley returned to New York to be the editor in chief of Scene (which was aimed at the twenty something daughter of the reader of W magazine). The magazine was meant to have the gritty feel of the downtown world it supposedly covered, but it never took off. Still, Buckley managed to carve out a niche for it as an insider’s must-read to learn about the newest trends in fashion, music, art culture, and more.
5. During his many years in newspapers and magazines, he worked with some of the fashion industries legendary editors including: John B. Fairchild, Tina Brown, and Grace Mirabella.
6. Buckley first saw Ford at a fashion show in 1986. “I went to a fashion show and this silver-haired guy was staring at me with these piercing water-blue eyes. It scared me because I absolutely saw and knew my entire future,’ Ford recalled in a 2016 interview ahead of their 30-year-anniversary. “Our eyes locked and within a month we were living together.”
“About 10 days later, someone asked if [Buckley] was seeing anyone. He said, ‘No, there was this guy I had seen at a fashion show,’ and at that moment, the elevator door opened and there I was. Richard jumps in the elevator and he’s practically tap dancing.” Ford claims by the end of the ride, he knew he had found the man he would spend the rest of his life with. “I am an intuitive person – but also a rational person – and we were in an elevator and we went down about 10 floors and Richard was patting his eyes and talking a lot. And I remember just sort of standing back and looking him up and down – taking him in – and by the time that elevator landed on the ground floor I was like, ‘You’re the one; that’s it; Click! Sold,'” Ford shared. “It was literally love at first sight.”
“We had three dates. We were living together four weeks later. He gave me the keys to his apartment, and we have lived together ever since.”
7. Three years after they began dating, Buckley was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1989. He underwent surgery shortly after being told his cancer was potential fatal.
8. On September 23, 2012 Buckley and Ford announced the arrival of their baby son, Alexander John Buckley Ford. Ford had previously told WWD that he and Buckley had decided to have children but realized that they’d have to do it in the near future. “I think I’d better get busy soon, though, because I’d like to be able to pick them up,” Ford said.
9. In 2014 Ford casually announced his nuptials to Buckley during an interview at the Regent Street Apple store in London, UK. “Richard, yes, 27 years, and we’re now married, which is nice,” he told interviewer Kinvara Balfour. “I know that it was just made legal in the U.K., which is great…We were married in The States.”
10. Buckley most recently lived in Los Angeles, New York and Santa Fe with Ford and their son.