Tom Ford: Understanding The Man Behind The Legacy

The journey of Tom Ford, from a humble beginning to an international fashion powerhouse, has all the ingredients of a Hollywood movie. And that precipitates to the brand Tom Ford that we love today

Tom Ford

Tom Ford

For those who swear by the charisma of fashion, any discussion on the topic is incomplete without the mention of Tom Ford. Born on 27th August 1961, this famous American designer’s success story has humble beginnings. Today, Ford is recognised as the man who redefined the realm of fashion by incorporating just the right amount of boldness into every design to make it stand out from the crowd. Being responsible for the success of some of the most loved fashion brands, Tom Ford continues to rule the industry with his very own fashion label.

Tom Ford has been a brand synonymous with style, glamour and sensuality ever since its inception. Centred on the belief of creating unique styles that tend to become a reflection of your personality, every design sold under the label of Tom Ford is a display of sheer creative brilliance. Founded by the famous American fashion designer – Tom Ford, the brand continues to be inspired by his vision and hunger for creativity. In 2005 Tom Ford initiated his very own fashion label. Over the years, the brand has established its dominance across several fashion categories including beauty products, eyewear, cosmetics, perfumes and accessories.

The Initial Years
Born as Thomas Carlyle Ford, Tom Ford completed his schooling as well as graduation in Santa Fe, Mexico, and moved to New York in 1979. By this time, his interest in design had taken strong roots. However, Tom Ford had enrolled into the architectural programme at The New School for Design instead of opting for fashion designing. During the last phase of this programme, he also had his very first chance to work as an intern in the offices of Chloé. Though his work profile at Chloé was restricted to that of a mere assistant responsible for sending clothes to photo shoots, Tom was beginning to see the glamour of the fashion world.

Having tasted blood in the fashion world, Tom was now hungry for more and keen to get a job in one of the coveted fashion houses of America. But his biggest challenge was not having the required qualification. During his job interviews, Ford always concealed his genre of specialisation to be architecture. However, his luck seemed to be a hard-to-please mistress, until one day when Ford landed a job as the assistant of designer Cathy Hardwick. After working as an American designer for the first few years, Tom soon realised that he wanted to be a part of the European fashion circuit and work for the more style conscious crowd. This led to the grand shift and Tom moved to Milan to take up a job with the prestigious fashion label of Gucci.

Moving To The European Fashion Circuit
After joining the Italian brand, there was no looking back for Tom Ford because his profile at Gucci was rapidly expanding. He started as the company’s Womenswear Designer. In less than a decade of his association with the brand, Tom rose to become the Creative Director of Gucci. His meteoric rise had all the elements of a Hollywood movie, which included critical acclaim, big profits, struggle and even appreciation. It was his bold designs, eye for detail and innovative way of working that turned the fortunes for Gucci, which was almost bankrupt at the time Tom joined. In fact in 2004, when Ford left the company, Gucci was valued at $10 billion. In 2005, Tom started his very own fashion label. That’s how the much-loved brand Tom Ford was born. He continues to be the face of the brand, constantly churning out newer and more impressive designs that continue to bedazzle the global fashion circuit.

The Tom Ford collection of eyeglasses and sunglasses is a careful compilation of the latest trends that are guaranteed to amplify your style quotient

Establishing The Fashion Label – Tom Ford
As a child, Tom was always amazed by the way his mother and grandmother dressed up. Later on as a designer, Ford did not hesitate to use this inspiration from his childhood to create masterpieces that went on to become the talk of the town. In the very first year of its establishment, Tom Ford tied up with Estée Lauder to launch an entire range of cosmetics and perfumes.

In 2005, there was a similar deal with the Marcolin Group, marking Tom Ford’s foray into the fashionable eyewear segment. His return to designing happened a year later, in 2006, when he announced his partnership with Ermenegildo Zegna to produce luxury menswear, accessories as well as footwear.

During this phase, the Tom Ford style was fast becoming a bold statement that received a mix of both criticism and appreciation. Ford was taking it all in his stride and racing ahead. He set up the first Tom Ford flagship store in Manhattan in 2007, followed
by a series of openings in other cities, taking the awesomeness of fashion to a greater audience.

And The Fame Continues
In 2009, Tom ventured into Hollywood, debuting as the director of the Academy Award nominated movie, A Single Man. He also produced the movie and co-wrote the screenplay. The movie was appreciated by film critics as well as in other reputed forums. It was showcased at several international film festivals.

Tom launched a collection of Private Blend Lip Colour in 2010 that soon became extremely popular, followed by his return to the women’s wear segment  in September in the same year. By that time, several popular celebrities from all over the globe had worn Tom Ford designs, taking his fashion label to soaring heights of success. Ford’s clientele had grown to include several celebrities like the First Lady of America, actors Daniel Craig, Anne Hathaway and Gwyneth Paltrow, singers Beyonce Knowles, Lady Gaga and Rihanna, among others. From controversial styles to path-breaking designs, Tom Ford soon became, and continues to remain, a popular favourite of celebs across
the globe.

Entering The Fashionable Eyewear Segment
Post the Gucci era, Tom Ford’s entry into the fashionable eyewear segment happened after being established as an independent fashion label. Representing a blend of contemporary style and classic design, Tom Ford eyewear clearly redefined luxury. With each design carefully detailed to represent an epitome of sophistication and style, Tom Ford eyewear became an instant hit among the crème de la crème of the society.



From the traditional black frames to the modern colourful ones, the Tom Ford collection of eyeglasses and sunglasses is a careful compilation of the latest trends that are guaranteed to amplify your style quotient. Even the latest collection of eyewear is more focused on the urbane trends and the need to be stylish without being too loud or uncomfortable about it. Be it the classic aviators or the relatively modern rimless designs, Tom Ford frames are fast becoming an obsession with people who are fond of wearing stylish eyewear.

Adding to the sophistication is the fact that every piece included in the Tom Ford collection is completed by hand in Italy. Establishing new trends with each passing year, the Tom Ford eyewear collection for the year 2014 consists of several beautiful and desirable pieces. Inspired from Ford’s past, these designs focus on encompassing a timeless look of elegance and are therefore guaranteed to add a hint of glamour to the personality of an individual. Combining the metal and acetate styles, the latest collection consists of designs for men as well as women, adding a directional design to the face. Additionally, every design is detailed to perfection in order to ensure maximum comfort for the wearer. A part of the collection is also dedicated to displaying some of the brand’s popular designs in a revamped manner.

Cary, Nikita, Jennifer, Henry and Whitney are some of the popular designs of sunglasses, sold under the Tom Ford label. The best part about their styling is that even the subtle details are clearly outlined, amplifying the overall beauty of the product, and therefore making it a prized possession for any fashion lover.


1990: Joined Gucci.
1994: Became Creative Director of Gucci.
1995: Won Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) International Award.
2000: Won British GQ International Man of The Year Award.
2001: Termed Best Fashion Designer by TIME Magazine.
2002: Received Accessories Designer of the Year Award for Yves Saint Laurent by CFDA.
2004: Won Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award.
2005: Won André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award – Savannah College of Art & Design.
2005: Launched the Tom Ford brand.
2008: Named Menswear Designer of the Year by CFDA.
2009: Won Queer Lion Award for his film, A Single Man, at the Venice International Film Festival.
2013: Named one of the 50 best-dressed over 50s by the Guardian.
2014: Received Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award at CFDA Fashion Awards 2014.