Tom Ford’s name alone conjures up images of style, flamboyance, and class! As one of the most prominent fashion designers of the twenty-first century, he is credited with transforming Gucci from a dilapidated accessories brand into one of the world’s most desirable luxury brands. He instilled an uncompromising style with a 21st-century sensibility into all his designs, which piqued the interest of his clients, the majority of whom were from Hollywood. Raised in New Mexico, he began his career as an actor before studying architecture and art history and eventually making his debut as a fashion designer. His passion for fashion was sparked during his final year as an architecture student. From working as a design assistant for Cathy Hardwick to becoming a prominent women’s ready-to-wear designer and creative director at Gucci, he has been pursuing his dream of changing the world of fashion. It would not be inaccurate to assert that he altered the world’s perception of the brand and cemented his place in the fashion fraternity for all time. Among his patrons are Madonna, Trudie Styler, and Bianca Jagger. Ford, an out homosexual, achieved international renown for his transformation of the Gucci fashion house and the launch of the ‘Tom Ford’ fashion label. If you’re interested in learning more about this fashionable personality, continue reading.
Childhood & Adolescence
Thomas Carlyle ‘Tom’ Ford was born in Austin, Texas, to realtors Shirley Burton and Tom Ford. He grew up in Houston, San Marcos, and Santa Fe.
He attended St. Michael’s High School and Santa Fe Preparatory School, where he received his diploma in 1979. He enrolled at Simon’s Rock’s Bard College and then relocated to New York City to study art history at New York University (NYU).
He shifted his focus to commercial acting and dropped out of NYU after only one year. He then enrolled at Parsons The New School for Design to study architecture.
He spent a year in Paris during his final year as an architecture student, interning at Chloe’s press office. He spent the final year of his studies studying fashion, but graduated in 1986 with a degree in architecture.
Career of Tom
He was immediately interested in working for Cathy Hardwick, an American designer, following his graduation from university. He called her every day in the hope of one day working for her; and he did. He spent two years as her design assistant.
In 1988, he worked for two years at the clothing brand Perry Ellis. However, he became dissatisfied with American fashion and ventured into the world of European fashion, which he perceived to be ‘classier’.
In 1990, he relocated to Milan and was appointed head of women’s ready-to-wear design at Gucci, a failing European luxury goods brand.
He became Gucci’s design director in 1992 and expanded the menswear and other apparel sections within months. He was also responsible for the brand’s pre-fall fragrances, image, advertising, and store design.
In 1993, he was in charge of eleven product lines, and while he was responsible for the majority of the popular creations, his contributions were dwarfed by those of Mello, the company’s face.
He was promoted to creative director in 1994 and credited with reintroducing ‘glamor’ to fashion with fashionable hipsters, satin shirts, and metallic boots, the majority of which were inspired by the disco era, which influenced his fashion sense in his youth.
Gucci launched its initial public offering in 1995 on the strength of Ford’s designs. By 1999, the once-dead brand had grown to a value of nearly $4.3 billion, largely due to Ford and his creative genius.
When Gucci acquired Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), Ford was appointed head creative director of that brand as well, displacing Saint Laurent as the official designer of the company’s retail line.
Due to the bold yet creative arty expression of his advertising campaigns for YSL fragrances, he became extremely famous. This reintroduced both fashion houses to the spotlight.
In 2004, Ford exited the Gucci group, which was valued at $10 billion at the time. Two years after leaving Gucci, he launched a new line of beauty, eyewear, accessories, and menswear under the ‘Tom Ford’ label.
He founded his film production company, ‘FADE TO BLOCK,’ in 2005 and made his directorial debut with the 2009 film ‘A Single Man.’
His first star store, dubbed ‘Tom Ford,’ opened in New York City on April 12, 2007. Several ‘Tom Ford’ stores have opened in the years since in London, Tokyo, Milan, and Los Angeles. In 2011, he was featured on the cover of ‘AnOther Man,’ a bi-annual publication.
Significant Works of Tom
His Spring/Summer 2003 collections for Gucci and YSL, which debuted during Paris Fashion Week, are widely regarded as his greatest. This fashion line was primarily comprised of animal prints on t-shirts, trousers, kaftans, and gowns.
The line quickly established itself as a trend-setter due to its introduction during a period when animal prints were popular.
He made his directorial debut with 2009’s ‘A Single Man’. The film was hailed as unconventional and received rave reviews from both the public and critics.
The film grossed a total of $24,964,890 at the box office and was selected for screenings at a number of prestigious festivals, including the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.
Additionally, the film was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of ‘Best Actor,’ as well as BAFTA and Independent Spirit Awards.
Awards and Accomplishments
In 1995, the Council of Fashion Designers of America presented him with the International Award. He was named ‘Best International Designer’ at the VHI/Vogue Awards in 2000.
In 2001, he was named ‘Best Womenswear Designer of the Year’ by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Tom Ford’s film ‘A Single Man’ won the Venice Film Festival’s Queer Lion in 2009. In 2013, he was named to the ‘Guardian’s’ list of the ’50 best-dressed over-50s’.
Personal History and Legacies
Tom Ford is gay, as is his journalist partner, Richard Buckley. They’ve been together since 1986, but Buckley was diagnosed with cancer only three years later.
Following his partner’s recovery, they relocated to Italy and welcomed a son named Alexander John Buckley Ford in September 2012.
Estimated Net Worth
Tom Ford is a fashion designer and film director from the United States with a net worth of $500 million. He amassed his fortune as the creative director of Gucci and YSL, as well as the founder of the Tom Ford brand.
While studying architecture at Parsons The New School for Design, this legendary American designer was a regular at the club ‘Studio 54,’ where he discovered he was gay.
This renowned American designer’s smooth fox terriers have appeared in his film, ‘A Single Man,’ and one has even walked the runway with him and been photographed with him.