Tom Ford

Tom Ford

Infobox Fashion Designer

caption =
name = Tom Ford
nationality = American
birth_date = August 27, 1961 (age age|1961|8|27) []
birth_place = Austin, Texas
death_date =
death_place =
education = Parsons School for Design
label_name = Cathy Hardwick, Perry Ellis, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford

Thomas Ford (born August 27, 1961) is an American fashion designer. He gained international fame for his turnaround of the Gucci fashion house and the creation of the Tom Ford label.


Early life (1961–1986)

Ford was born August 27, 1961 in Austin, Texas to realtors Tom Ford and Shirley Bunton.Sharpe, Tom. "Ford: Santa Fe Is Home". "Santa Fe New Mexican" (November 10, 2005).] Dingus, Anne. [ "Tom Ford"] . "Texas Monthly" (September 1998).] He spent his early life in the suburbs of Houston, Texas and in San Marcos, outside Austin; his family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico when he was 11.Bonnin, Julie. "Tom Ford Gucci: One-time Central Texan becomes Gucci god". "Austin American-Statesman" (August 18, 1997).] In Santa Fe, he entered St. Michael's High School and later moved to Santa Fe Preparatory School, from which he graduated in 1979. [Mayfield, Dan. [ "Designer's New Direction"] . "Albuquerque Journal" (October 24, 2004).] Ford left Santa Fe at age 17, when he moved to New York City to study art history at New York University. [ "Style icon has ties to Santa Fe"] . "Albuquerque Journal" (January 11, 2002).] [Porter, Charlie. "Paris Style". "The Guardian" (March 16, 2001).]

Ford dropped out of N.Y.U. after only a year, preferring to concentrate on acting in television commercials; at one time, he was in twelve national advertising campaigns simultaneously. [Shaeffer, Brittany. "Ford Is Bigger, Louder Than Ever". "New York Daily News" (April 13, 2005).] Ford then began studying interior architecture at New York City’s Parsons School of Design.Dazman, Manan. "In Ford-ward drive". "New Straits Times" (December 11, 2003).] During his time in New York, Ford became a fixture at the legendary nightclub Studio 54, where he decided to embrace his homosexuality."Tom Ford: the hard-driven Texan behind the rebirth of Gucci". Agence France-Presse (April 12, 2005).] Frankel, Susannah. [ "A Bigger Splash"] . "The Independent" (January 16, 1999).] The club's disco-era glamor would be a major influence on his later designs. [Groskop, Viv. "Style King". "Sunday Express" (February 29, 2004).] [Porter, Charlie. "End of designer era could see Ford and De Sole set up own label". "The Guardian" (November 5, 2003).] Before his last year at Parsons, Ford spent six months in Paris, where he worked as an intern in Chloé's press office. [Sharkey, Alix. [ "How the man in black conquered the world"] . "The Independent" (January 20, 2000).] Though his work primarily involved sending clothes out on photo shoots, it triggered his love of fashion.Luther, Marylou. "Cynicism key to fashion today, Ford says". "Plain Dealer" (March 14, 1996).] He spent his final year at Parsons studying fashion, but nonetheless graduated with a degree in architecture.

Early career (1986–1994)

When interviewing for jobs after graduation, he said that he had attended Parsons but concealed that he graduated in architecture and that his work at Chloe was a low-level public relations position Hirschberg, Lynn. [ "Next. Next. What’s Next?] " "New York Times" (April 7, 1996).] Despite his lack of experience, Ford called American designer Cathy Hardwick every day for a month in hopes of securing a job at her midprice sportswear company.Hirschberg, Lynn. [ "Luxury in hard times"] . "New York Times" (December 2, 2001).] Peyser, Marc with Seema Nayyar and Dana Thomas. [ "Gucci's G-Free Whiz"] . "Newsweek" (March 4, 1996).] Eventually, she agreed to see him. Hardwick later recalled the incident: "I had every intention of giving him no hope. I asked him who his favorite European designers were. He said, Armani and Chanel." Months later I asked him why he said that, and he said, 'Because you were wearing something Armani'." Is it any wonder he got the job?" Ford worked as a design assistant for Hardwick for two years."Gucci uses its loafer". "South China Morning Post" (December 4, 1994).]

In 1988, Ford moved to Perry Ellis, where he knew both the Robert McDonald, the company's president, and Marc Jacobs, its designer, socially. He stayed at the company for two years, but grew tired of working in American fashion. In a later interview with the New York Times, he commented, "If I was ever going to become a good designer, I had to leave America. My own culture was inhibiting me. Too much style in America is tacky. It's looked down upon to be too stylish. Europeans, however, appreciate style."

Ford would soon have the opportunity to enter the world of European fashion: Gucci, a faltering luxury goods comapany, was seeking to strengthen its women's ready-to-wear presence as a part of its brand overhaul.Moin, David. "Revival meeting". "Women's Wear Daily" (June 5, 2006).] At the time, "no one would dream of wearing Gucci," said Dawn Mello, then the company's creative director. [Tagliabue, John. [ "Gucci Gains Ground With Revival of Style"] . "New York Times" (December 14, 1995).] Mello hired Ford—then a near-unknown—as the brand's chief women's ready-to-wear designer in 1990. [Trebay, Guy. [ "Welcome to the family"] . "New York Times" (March 4, 2002).] "I was talking to a lot of people, and most didn't want the job," Mello said. "For an American designer to move to Italy to join a company that was far from being a brand would have been pretty risky." Ford and his longtime partner, fashion journalist Richard Buckley, relocated to Milan that September.

Ford's role at Gucci rapidly expanded: he was designing menswear within six months, and shoes soon after that. When Richard Lambertson left as design director in 1992, Ford took over his position, heading the brand's ready-to-wear, fragrances, image, advertising, and store design. In 1993, when he was in charge of designing eleven product lines, Ford worked eighteen-hour days. [Armstrong, Lisa. "Fashion diary". "The Times (London)" (September 4, 2000).] During these years, there were creative tensions between Ford and Maurizio Gucci, the company's chairman and 50% owner. [Bone, James. "Gucci survives family feud to be a fashion icon again". "The Times" (September 13, 1996).] According to Mello, "Maurizio always wanted everything to be round and brown, and Tom wanted to make it square and black."Theis, Tammy. [ "Tom Ford departs world's leading luxury label"] . "Dallas Morning News" (March 6, 2004).] Though Maurizio Gucci wanted to fire Ford, Domenico de Sole insisted that he remain. [ [ "The guy behind Gucci"] . "The Hindu" (September 1, 2000).] [De Teliga, Jane. "The man behind the Gucci miracle". "Sydney Morning Herald" (April 15, 1999).] [Foley, Bridget. [ "Fashion front: it's the fashion story of the year"] . "W" (January 1, 2004).] Nonetheless, Ford's work during the early 1990s was primarily behind the scenes; his contributions to Gucci were overshadowed by those of Mello, who was the company's public face. [Herman, Valli. "Gucci walks through fire to emerge as fashion's hottest house". "Times Union (Albany)" (December 29, 1995).] [Hayes, David. "What has gone wrong at Gucci". "The Evening Standard" (March 10, 2005).]

Gucci creative director (1994–2004)

In 1994, Ford was promoted to creative director. In his first year at the helm, he was credited with putting the glamor 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. Between 1995 and 1996, sales at Gucci increased by 90%. [Blanchard, Tamsin. [;col1 "The hoochie Gucci man"] . "The Independent" (March 23, 1996).]

By 1999, the house, which had been almost bankrupt when Ford joined, was valued at about $4.3 billion.

When Gucci acquired the house of Yves Saint-Laurent, Ford was named the creative director of that label as well. 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 famous and provocative by pushing fragrance ads to a new level of creativity in artistic expression and commercial impact.
Some of his hats for Yves Saint Laurent were created by Prudence Millinery.

In April 2004, Ford parted company with the Gucci group after he and CEO Domenico de Sole, who is credited as Ford's partner in the success story that is Gucci, failed to agree with PPR bosses over creative control of the Group.

Tom Ford (2004–present)

Following his departure from Gucci (and YSL), Ford opened the fashion house, Tom Ford.La Ferla, Ruth. - Business: [ "Tom Ford, Clothing Designer, Will Open Store of His Own"] . - "New York Times". - February 28, 2006. - Retrieved: October 12, 2007] Ford began with accessories; his line of eyewear was the first to become successful. The Tom Ford line now covers Menswear, Beauty, Eyewear, and both Men and Women's Accessories. In 2006, he also established a fragrance line called Tom Ford Beauty. In early 2006, Ford attracted media attention for appearing fully clothed on the cover of "Vanity Fair" alongside Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson, both nude. [Entertainment: [,2933,185769,00.html "Johansson, Knightley Bare All for Mag Cover"] . - Associated Press. - (c/o Fox News). - February 22, 2006. - Retrieved: October 12, 2007]

Ford's first 'Tom Ford' flagship store opened on April 12, 2007 on New York City's Madison Avenue. In Spring 2008, Ford opened his first boutique outside of the United States in Zurich, Switzerland located at Munsterhof 17. [] [] In September of 2008 Ford opened a boutique in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the Harry Rosen store on Bloor street.

Personal life

Ford and his partner, journalist Richard Buckley, have been together for over 20 years. Buckley was the former Editor in Chief of Vogue Hommes International.

Noted for his interest in modern architecture, Ford has commissioned houses from the Los Angeles firm of Marmol-Radziner and Associates,the Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza, and the Japanese architect Tadao Ando.


Ford has been recognized by important design and cultural councils worldwide including the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and "TIME".

*1995: International Award - Council of Fashion Designers of America
*2000: Best International Designer - VH1/Vogue Awards
*2001: Womenswear Designer of the Year - Council of Fashion Designers of America
*2002: Accessory Designer of the Year Award for Yves Saint-Laurent - Council of Fashion Designers of America
*2006: Accessory Brand Launch - Accessories Council Excellence (ACE) Awards [ [ The Accessories Council Excellence (ACE) Awards] - Accessories Council]
*2008: Menswear Designer of the Year - Council of Fashion Designers of America


External links

* [ Official Tom Ford homepage]
* [ Tom Ford fanpage]

Further reading

* Tom Ford with Graydon Carter and Anna Wintour. "Tom Ford". Thames & Hudson (2004). ISBN 0500511977.

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