Photography by Julia Restoin Roitfeld, courtesy of V Magazine

After five years and some experimenting in other creative endeavors, Tom Ford is back with his Spring/Summer women's collection for 2011, shown last September to a select coterie of editors in NYC.

Ford sat with Julia Restoin Roitfeld (daughter of recently-departed Vogue Paris editor, Carine Roitfeld), who models the collection and took her own self-portraits, to chat for V magazine revealing a man who no longer takes himself so seriously.

"I told myself that I would not come back to women's fashion until I felt I had something new to say. I feel that fashion has become too serious and that the actual customer's needs have not really been addressed," Ford tells Roitfeld in the mag. "Fashion needs to make one happy. It is a luxury and should enhance one's quality of life."

Photography by Julia Restoin Roitfeld, courtesy of V Magazine

"Happy" and "fun" are words Ford uses over and over to describe the new collection and ostensibly his new take on life. His inspiration, he tells Roitfeld, for the new collection was "real women."

"Real clothes for real women. I want to concentrate on my real customer. That's why I showed idealized versions of her-different women of different ages. It was about individuality, different body types, women who have their own style," Ford says.

He occasionally slips into Nate Berkus-speak when it comes to giving real women what they want and deserve.

"My customer has her own sense of style and knows herself well. My goal is to help women become the best version of themselves," Ford says.

It would sound glib coming from anyone else, but after five years away, we forgive him.

The iconic designer won't be leaving us again anytime soon. When asked what comes next, he told Roitfeld: "I have to say, more fashion. I love what I am doing right now and can't wait to start the next collection."