Tom Ford - The American Designer Who Revolutionized Gucci

The famous American designer and film director Tom Ford was the creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent and later launched his own luxury brand.

Thomas Carlyle Ford was born on August 27, 1961, in Austin, Texas, and spent much of his childhood on his grandparents' farm in the town of Brownwood. His parents were both worked as real estate agents.

According to Biography, Tom Ford had an early interest in art and painting. Speaking of his predisposition, Ford says he's always been very visual, always interested in design.

He had two early role models in fashion: his mother and grandmother. His mother was very chic, very classy, he recalls, and his paternal grandmother was elegant in a very Texas way - everything big and sparkly, from jewelry to cars. Tom Ford would later combine these two styles during his reinvention of the Gucci image in the mid-1990s.

Tom Ford Ends Up Working For Gucci

The Fords moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Tom attended high school and graduated at age 17. He then enrolled at New York University in 1979, where he began studying art history. In 1980, he dropped out and moved to Los Angeles, where he made a living acting in television commercials.

A few years later, Tom Ford moved back to New York and enrolled at Parsons School of Design. He then transferred to Parsons' Paris campus.

In 1985, after graduating from school, Cathy Hardwick, a sportswear designer, offered him a job, and after two years as Hardwick's design assistant, Ford was designing jeans for Perry Ellis on Seventh Avenue in New York.

In 1990, Tom Ford moved to Milan, Italy, becoming a womenswear designer at the Gucci fashion house. From this point on, things changed dramatically.

Tom Ford Revolutionized Gucci

Tom Ford instantly breathed new life into Gucci. He quickly rose through the company's ranks, becoming design director in 1992 and creative director in 1994.

Ford completely revamped the image of the well-known fashion house - replacing the minimalism of the early 1990s with updated retro looks. He expanded the company into a number of new projects, including men's and women's sportswear, eveningwear, and home furnishings.

Under Ford's leadership, Gucci acquired the famous French brand Yves Saint Laurent, generating a remarkable increase in the company's sales. Over the decade (1994-2004), Ford served as the driving force behind the House of Gucci, and the company's annual sales grew from $230 million to $3 billion.

After French multinational Pinault Printemps Redoute bought Gucci in 2004, Tom Ford resigned from the company.

Tom Ford Established His Own Luxury Brand

In 2005, he founded his own fashion company, "Tom Ford Brand", which produces menswear, eyewear, jewelry, as well as beauty products.

In 2009, Ford broke into the film industry with his debut film, "A Single Man", starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. Ford co-wrote and directed the film, based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood.

In 2016, he wrote, co-produced, and directed the psychological thriller "Nocturnal Animals", based on a novel by Austin Wright. The film stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director.

Tom Ford has received numerous awards for his achievements in the fashion industry. He has won five Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards, four VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards, and was named GQ Designer of the Year 2001.

Tom Ford is a clear example of the fact that through work and dedication you can fulfill your dreams. 

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