Tom Ford is a 58-year-old renowned American fashion designer, film director, and producer. He got to fame during his tenure as the Creative Director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent and was seen as the brain behind their luxurious designs.

He launched his venerable eponymous brand, “Tom Ford” in 2005. He is famous for his menswear, womenswear, accessories, and designer glasses collection.

He opened a film production house, “FADE TO BLACK” in March 2005 following which he directed and produced his first-ever film ‘A Single Man based on Christopher Isherwood‘s novel in 2009.

He has bagged several prestigious awards. His estimated net worth is $500 million.

 

Early Life & Childhood

Tom Ford (Thomas Carlyle Ford) was born on the 27th of August 1961 in Austin, Texas to Thomas David Ford and Shirley Burton who both worked as real estate agents.

Ford’s interest in art and painting dates back to his early childhood. He developed good organizational skills quite early in life as he was observed by parents to rearrange all the living room furniture before they came back home.

His fashion role models were his mum and paternal grandmother. He admired their classy and stunning dress sense and would always give them compliments for their looks. This ignited a spark in his love for fashion.

His parents relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico when he was 11 years. He attended St. Michael’s High School and later moved to the prestigious Santa Fe Preparatory School from which he graduated in 1979.

He then moved to New York City to study art history at New York University (NYU) in 1979. He made an acquaintance with Ian Falconer, a colleague from history class who invited him for a party taking place at Studio 54 night club. It was there he met pop artist, Andy Warhol for the first time. He started partying almost all nights and discovered his sexual preference (gay) and further lost interest in school. He dropped out after a year and went into television commercials.

 

Career

He saved up money from his acting career and then enrolled in Parsons New School’s Art and Design College where he studied interior architecture in New York City and later transferred to Parsons’ Paris campus.

Before completing his final year of architecture study over there, he worked as an intern in Chloe’s press office which further inspired his interest in fashion. He discovered that he sought to worked up dress designs in all his architectural projects. He graduated with a degree in Interior Architecture in 1986. He then realized that fashion was the right balance between art and commerce.

Shortly after graduation, he was sought for a job opportunity at a prominent sportswear company owned by Cathy Hardwick, an American fashion designer, and was hired a month after several applications. He worked as her design assistant for 2 years.

In 1988, he later secured a jean designing job at Perry Ellis, a clothing brand on New York’s Seventh Avenue where he knew both Robert McDonald, the company’s president, and Marc Jacobs, the brand’s designer. He worked with the company for two years but later grew tired of working in American fashion and wanted to venture into European fashion because he felt Europeans appreciated style.

In 1990, the Italian fashion house, Gucci was going through financial challenges and needed to strengthen its women’s ready to wear clothing line. The company’s creative director, Dawn Mello, hired him as the brands’ Chief Women’s ready to wear designer. He had to relocate to Milan, Italy for the job.

Tom Ford became Gucci’s design director in 1994 and within a couple of months expanded the menswear and other apparel lines. He was managing eleven product collections a year later.

He transformed the brand, Gucci by giving it a sexier, glamourous, and aesthetic outlook. He ran stunning and intriguing advertising campaigns with a modern concept by hiring the French Stylist, Carine Roitfeld, and a photographer, Mario Testino in 1995.

Tom Ford’s innovative creations rose Gucci up from bankruptcy thereby yielding rising profits for the brand and by 1999, it became a public company worth about $4.3 billion and he had the most shares in the company.

In 1999, Gucci acquired the venerable French brand, “Yves Saint Laurent” under Ford’s leadership which further skyrocketed growth in the company’s sales. By 2004, Gucci was valued at over $10 billion.

Pinault Printemps Redoute, a French Multinational bought Gucci in 2004 upon which Ford resigned from the company alongside Dominico De Sole who was the Chief Executive.

In 2005, he launched his own fashion company under the “Tom Ford” label and released a new collection of accessories, eyewear, and menswear. The chairman of the Tom Ford brand was Dominico De Sole who was a friend and colleague of his while working with Gucci.

The inauguration of the first “Tom Ford” store was on the 12th of April, 2007 in New York City with other outlets opened subsequent years later in London, Tokyo, Milan, and Los Angeles.

 

FILMOGRAPHY

He opened a film production house, “FADE TO BLACK” alongside fashion designing in March 2005. He directed and produced his first film ‘A Single Man based on Christopher Isherwood‘s novel in 2009 which garnered Oscar Academy nomination and Golden Globe nomination. The movie starring Julianne Moore, Mathew Goode, Nicholas Hoult, and Colin Firth. The film and actors won several awards at the 66th Venice International Film Festival.

In 2016, Tom Ford wrote and directed the film “Nocturnal Animals” to significant critical acclaim. The film won a Grand Jury Prize at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, with a cast including Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal receiving Golden Globe and Oscar’s nominations.

 

Personal Life

He is married to Richard Buckley, a journalist and former Editor-In-Chief of Vogue Hommes International, and they have been together since 1986. They have a son called, Alexander John “Jack” Buckley Ford born in September 2012 via gestational surrogate.

 

Awards & Achievements

  • Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA’s) Womenswear Designer of the Year (2001)
  • Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA’s) Menswear Designer of the Year (2008, 2014 and 2015)
  • CFDA’s Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award (2014)
  • Style Icon Award – ElleStyle Awards UK (1999)
  • VHI/Vogue Awards for ‘Best International Designer’ (2000)
  • British GQ International Man of the Year Award (2000)
  • ‘A Single Man’ won the Queer Lion at the Venice Film Festival (2009)
  • Best Fashion Designer – Time Magazine (2001)
  • Designer of the Year – GQUSA (2001)
  • Accessory Designer of the Year Award for Yves Saint-Laurent (2002)
  • Fashion Design Achievement Award – Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum’s National Design Awards (2003)
  • International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame (2004)
  • Accessory Brand Launch – Accessories Council Excellence (ACE) Awards (2006)
  • GQ Germany Man of the Year (2009).

 

Net Worth

His estimated net worth is $500 million (2019)

 

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