“… you have to fulfill your destiny …”
Style legend Tom Ford is both an American fashion designer and film director. He gained fame as a creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. In 2006 he launched his own label where he has left an incredible mark.
The Gucci Decade
Ford joined Gucci in Milan in 1990. By 1994 Ford was made creative director, where he was responsible for the design of all product lines. But Gucci was struggling. The previous chief designer had just left Gucci for Bergdorf Goodman, and revenue was falling. At that time, Gucci was mainly known for their leather goods, scarves and knits.
Ford was given control where he brought outrageously sensual tailoring, and retro-70s styling. He gave Gucci a radical facelift and by 1996 sales had increased by 115%. It was the jet-set look.
Ford presented strong collections each year from the sleek white dresses with the provocative cuts to tight suits and trousers for men. Fashion for both men and women made conservative fashion aficionados blush.
Gucci became seductive.
Seduction steeped the runway and Gucci’s ads. Ford thrived on the scandalous, and he became famous as a fashion provocateur. But Gucci reaped the rewards. Sales rose. There was a buzz.
In 2000, the newly founded Gucci Group acquired Yves Saint Laurent, where Ford was invited to reinvent the brand.
While the sales and excitement grew. Conflict around the hyper-sexual designs for the ready-to-wear line grew with the co-founder of YSL.
Ford said that he received a handwritten letter at one point that said, “in one collection you have undone what 40 years of went to build.”
Nevertheless, by the time he left the Gucci Group in 2004, he had built it into one of the most profitable luxury brands in the world.
The Tom Ford Label
The next year Ford launched his own label with menswear, beauty, eyewear, and accessories. In 2007 he opened his flagship store on Madison Avenue where he has continued to be at the forefront in the presentation of his collections each season.
In 2010 in a private and intimate gathering of friends he launched his first women’s wear. The collection was modeled on an exclusive catwalk by Lauren Hutton, Julianne Moore, Daphne Guinness, Chanel Iman, and Beyoncé among others.
Today, there are 110 Tom Ford stores and shop-in-shops stores, in addition to his online store.
Tom Ford the Producer
Ford formed the film production company Fade to Black in 2005. In 2009 he produced, co-wrote, and directed his first feature film “A Single Man”, adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s novel of the same name. The film starred Colin Firth alongside Julianne Moore, Nicolas Hoult, and Matthew Goode.
“A Single Man” premiered at the 66th annual Venice International Film Festival. Colin Firth was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. There were three nominations for Golden Globes, Colin Firth for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Julianne Moore for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, and Abel Korzeniowski for Best Original Score - Motion Picture.
Colin Firth won Best Leading Actor in the 2010 BAFTA Awards.
Ford co-produced and directed his second feature film, “Nocturnal Animals” that premiered at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival in 2016, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. It starred Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Michael Shannon received a nomination for Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. And the film received two nominations Tom Ford for Best Director - Motion Picture, and Tom Ford for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture.