Tom Ford was born on August 27, 1961. He is an American fashion designer and is considered one of the most famous and influential designer ever. He gained international fame for his legendary turnaround of the Gucci fashion house and the creation of the Tom Ford label, becoming one of the world's most influential designers.
Ford was born in Austin, TX and gresw up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His mother was a colourful Southern lady who had 6 husbands and a cupboard full of Courreges suits. She taught him that being badly dressed was disrespectful of others. He spent most of his childhood worrying about how he looked.
In New Mexico he graduated from Santa Fe Preparatory School in 1970. After studying at NYU and then Parsons School of Design in 1986, initially having studied architecture, he took design jobs with Cathy Hardwick and Perry Ellis under designer Marc Jacobs.
In 1990, Ford was hired by Gucci's then creative director Dawn Mello as chief women's ready-to-wear designer, and later appointed design director. When, in 1994, Gucci was acquired by a Bahrain-based investment firm called Investcorp, Ford was promoted to creative director and moved to Milan with his partner, journalist Richard Buckley.
In his first year at the helm, he was credited with putting the glamour back into fashion introducing Halston-style velvet hipsters, skinny satin shirts and car-finish metallic patent boots. In 1995, he brought in French stylist Carine Roitfeld and photographer Mario Testino to create a series of new, modern ad campaigns for the company. By 1999, the house, which had been almost bankrupt when Ford joined, was valued at about $4.3 billion.
Further in his first year at Gucci, the profits soared and Tom Ford was called a genius. He overseas womenswear of course, but also keeps an eye on Gucci's shoes, watches, perfume and luggage lines, as well as the advertising campaigns. They have also branched out into Home furnishings.
In 2000, Gucci bought out YSL Rive Gauche and appointed Tom Ford to take up the design responsibilities of YSL Rive Gauche ready-to-wear. During 2001 there seems to have been some disagreement between Yves St. Laurent and Tom Ford about the way YSL was proceeding. This led to the resignation of Yves St. Laurent in January 2002 from the company he had built. During his time as Creative Director for YSL, Ford won numerous Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards. Like his work at Gucci, Ford was able to catapult the classic fashion house back into the mainstream.
His advertising campaigns for the YSL fragrances Opium (with a red-haired Sophie Dahl completely naked wearing only a necklace and stiletto heels in a sexually suggestive pose) and YSL m7 (with martial arts champion Samuel de Cubber in complete full-frontal nudity) have been infamous and provocative by pushing fragrance ads to a new level of creativity in artistic expression and commercial impact.
In November 2003 Tom Ford announced that in April, when his contract with Gucci came up for renewal, he would be leaving Gucci.
Then in March 2004, he presented his last collections for YSL Rive Gauche and Gucci, amid very emotional farewells. His final show for YSL was a celebrity-studded affair as fans, including fellow designers Diane von Furstenberg, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney gathered to support and celebrate Ford's work.
Having made no secret of the fact that he didn't expect to be designing forever, Ford was rumoured to be making a beeline for Hollywood when his Gucci reign came to an end.
He and Domenico de Sole, his colleague who left Gucci with him, set up a new company called just "Tom Ford". As the first major initiative, this company has now collaborated with cosmetics giant Estee Lauder to create beauty products and fragrances, plus an eyewear line. Tom Ford Estee Lauder Collection was launched on November 4th, 2005 at Saks Fifth Avenue store. Tom was greeted by crowds of people.
In early 2006, Ford was asked to be the guest editor and creative director for the February 2006 Hollywood edition of Vanity Fair. The cover was originally planned to showcase three of Hollywood's most promising young actresses — Keira Knightley, Scarlett Johansson, and Rachel McAdams. Once shooting began, however, it was quickly decided that the girls should appear in the nude. McAdams was not satisfied with this decision and was excluded from the shot after refusing to remove her clothing. Feeling the photo needed more than two people, Ford stepped in and replaced McAdams. The issue generated criticism, with many claiming that it further perpetuated the need for Hollywood actresses to be sexual icons, since the edition featured no nude actors inside the magazine while featuring several nude actresses, including Angelina Jolie.
In February 2006, Tom Ford announced a licensing agreement with Ermenegildo Zegna Group for the production and worldwide distribution of lusury men’s ready-to-wear and made-to-measure clothing, footwear andaccessories under the “Tom Ford” label. In April 2007, his first directly owned flagship store opened in New York at 845 Madison Avenue to coincide with the much anticipated debut of the signature Tom Ford menswear and accessory collection.
In June 2007, Tom Ford International announced a targeted global expansion starting in four directly operated stores that are slated to open over the next three years in Milan, London, Los Angeles, and Hawaii. In addition, Tom Ford announced agreements with key franchise partners that will allow for a focused and select expansion schedule beginning Spring 2008 for key cities in Europe, South America, Asia, and the Middle east. Tom Ford also announced the exclusive limited distribution of the Tom Ford Menswear collection in select luxury retail partners in the US and Europe beginning in spring 2008. The resulting overall plan will create more than 100 free standing Tom Ford retail stores worldwide over the next 10 years as well as a tightly controlled distribution network of shop in shops with luxury retailer partners.
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