After earning a degree in interior design from the New School’s School of Art and Design, Parsons The New School for Design Tom Ford became one of the world’s best designers, but he didn’t design houses at all. Instead, he is now a world-class American fashion designer, film director, screenwriter, and film producer who became known as the creative director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
Ford is best remembered for pulling out all the stops to redesign the Italian fashion house Gucci, which was financially struggling in the 1990s. When Ford joined in 1999, the declining fashion house, which was on the verge of collapse, was worth more than 4 billion dollars. Unfortunately, he left the house after he and CEO Domenico de Sole could not reach an agreement with the head of Pinault Printemps Redoute about controlling the group. In particular, de Sole is acknowledged as Ford’s partner for the success of Gucci. Ford later launched its luxury brand of the same name in 2006 and also directed the Oscar-nominated films A Single Man (2009) and Nocturnal Animals.
Tom Ford has dressed several A-Listers and creme de la creme in Hollywood and beyond. From Michelle Obama to Beyoncé, Hugh Jackman, Jon Hamm, Henry Cavill, Jennifer Lopez, Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Julianne Moore and a host of others, we have seen celebrities shine in his eye-catching designs. He also designed Daniel Craig’s suits for his last three iconic roles as James Bond in the movies – Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre.
Tom Ford Bio, Childhood
The legendary designer was born on August 27, 1961, in Austin, Texas, the son of real estate agents Shirley Burton and Thomas David Ford. He lived most of his childhood in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, and San Marcos, outside Austin, but his family later moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, when he was 11 years old. There he attended St. Michael’s High School and later moved to Santa Fe Preparatory School, which he graduated from in 1979.
Ford was 16 when he enrolled at Bard College in Simon’s Rock, which he dropped out of and moved to New York City to study art history at New York University (NYU). After a year, he also dropped out of NYU and decided to study interior design at the New School’s School of Art and Design, Parsons The New School for Design. Although he graduated with a degree in architecture, Ford spent more than a year in Paris and worked as an intern in Chloé’s press office. This sparked his interest in fashion, and so he spent his final year at the New School studying fashion.
After completing his studies in architecture, Ford went into fashion instead. So he hid his diploma and channeled his inner fashion genius. He succeeded in convincing the American designer Cathy Hardwick to hire him, after which he worked with her as a design assistant for two years. He then moved on to clothing brand Perry Ellis, with whom he also worked for two years.
To explore his horizons, Ford decided to venture into the world of European fashion, which he described as “classier“. He was appointed chief designer of women’s apparel at the ailing European brand Gucci and moved to Milan in 1990 to make a groundbreaking change in the company’s future.
After taking over as head of Gucci’s design division, it took him several months to develop the menswear and other apparel divisions within the company. He was promoted to Creative Director in 1994, thanking Gucci for a revised fashion style that included hipsters, satin shirts and metal boots in the brand. It is worth noting that his sense of fashion and style was inspired mainly by the disco era in his younger days as a student.
In 1999, Gucci, the once-dead brand, was able to accumulate a value of nearly $4.3 billion thanks to the creative genius Ford. Gucci also acquired the fashion house of Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), and Ford was appointed Chief Creative Director of the brand. He continued his magic and left the brands in the spotlight.
When Ford left Gucci in 2004, the company was worth $10 billion. After leaving the company, Ford launched a new line of beauty, eyewear, accessories, and menswear, which he named “Tom Ford”.
The world-class designer also dabbled in films and announced the opening of his film production company Fade To Black in 2005. He made his directorial debut in 2009 with the film “A Single Man”, which won a prize in the same year
On April 12, 2007, he opened his first store, “Tom Ford”, in New York City. Subsequently, similar stores were opened in London, Tokyo, Milan, and Los Angeles.
Ford is a true trendsetter in the world of fashion, and his mother and grandmother were considered his two early role models in fashion. His skills have not gone unrecognized. He has won several awards, including the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s International Award in 1995; the VHI/Vogue Awards for Best International Designer in 2000; the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Best Women’s Apparel Designer of the Year in 2001; his film A Single Man won the Queer Lion at the 2009 Venice Film Festival; and in 2013 the Guardian included him in its list of the 50 best-dressed over-50s.
Tom Ford’s Husband
During his studies in New York, frequent visits to Studio 54 opened his eyes to the fact that he was gay. Ford is married to Richard Buckley, with whom he has been dating since 1986, but with whom he did not sign the Covenant for Life until 2014. Nevertheless, he said his first lover was the artist Ian Falcone.
His husband Buckley is a journalist and former editor-in-chief of Vogue Hommes International. They live together in Los Angeles, London, and Santa Fe with their son Alexander John “Jack” Buckley Ford, who was born in September 2012.
Tom Ford’s Net Worth
The American fashion designer made the right decision when he decided to give up his architecture studies to use his passion for fashion. Who knows, he probably would not have accumulated an estimated net worth of 200 million dollars if he had designed houses instead of clothes.