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Oh to live in 1962, when people guzzled gin guilt-free and dragged innocently on cigarettes, when they drove huge great cars without worrying about global warming, when women (and men for that matter) had silhouettes instead of mere shadows. This is on the condition that it’s a 1962 drawn up by Tom Ford, the fashion designer who revamped Gucci and Yves St. Laurent before coming out with his own sleek fashion label, and is photographed to restrained perfection by cinematographer Edward Grau.

“A Single Man” — Ford’s directorial debut — can best be described as an on-screen fashion runway set in a gorgeous fictional 1962 where no one, absolutely no one, is unseemly, unattractive or even overweight. Take this scene: A drunken, unhappy middle-aged woman lies prostrate on the carpet in her living room, venting her frustration with all that’s gone wrong in her life. It could be very messy. But between them, Ford and Grau create a moment that’s flawlessly lit, exquisitely framed — and the woman’s mascara isn’t even runny. What is with that?

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