Tom Ford, the former creative director for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, has added film director as one of his titles. Ford is the director of the A Single Man, an American drama film which was released last year. This Austin Texas native once had his eye on becoming a movie star, not a fashion designer. Ford set on a path and allowed his heart to lead the way.
“When I was young, I wanted to be a movie star. But I realized that you have no control being an actor. So I went to architecture school in NYC, because I was crazy about buildings. Then I began to realize that I got more excited about Vogue coming out each month than I was about my projects. I also realized that the way I approached architecture was with a somewhat fashion brain,” Ford said in an interview with thefashionspot.com.
He went on to study interior architecture at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. During his senior year he became interested in fashion while working as an intern in the Chloé press office. During his first year of college, Ford was a model and an actor in several commercials.
By the end of his senior year Ford knew for sure that he wanted to pursue a career in fashion. After he finished up at Parsons New School for Design in France in 1986, he moved back to New York to begin his professional career in the fashion industry. After many interviews he landed his first job with Cathy Hardwick, where he worked as a design assistant for two years. In 1988, Ford began working for Perry Ellis, which is where a lot of great designers got their start in the world of fashion. But he knew that working in American fashion was not an absolute passion of his and that he would have to broaden his horizons in order to fulfill his dream of becoming a great designer. It wasn’t until 1990 that the dream would become a reality. That year he was hired on as Gucci’s brand chief for the women’s ready to wear designer. Within six months of working for Gucci he was moving at a fast pace and begin designing menswear and shoes.
Due to his hard work behind the scenes he was promoted to the Creative Director of Gucci in 1994. Ford was credited for putting the glamour back into fashion by introducing Halston-style velvet hipsters, skinny satin shirts and car finish metallic patent boots. Ford has been known for his sex appeal, and when it comes to selling clothes the ad campaigns for the brand are very appealing to the eye.
Ford told thefashionspot.com “I suppose everything I do has sexual undertones, but I don’t set out to make everything about sex. My clothes are more about sensuality. What I do is dress and beautify the body. My feeling is, if you have something beautiful, then show it. I don’t start out by saying to myself, What can I do that’s sexy? It’s more that what I find beautiful is also sexy and sensual. That doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily making clothing to go out and pick someone up in.”
The fashion designer was also credited with helping transform Gucci when it comes to revenue. By the end of his tenure at the company in 2004, Gucci was valued at over 10 billion dollars. Leaving Gucci was something that was hard for him to do and was due to what he called a “mid-life crisis.” In an interview with CNN he discussed the emotional breakup.
“It was terrible. I think it came at a time in my life when I was possibly due a mid-life crisis anyway. I worked so hard all my life to get to a certain point. There’s a wonderful quote that says a mid-life crisis is when you get to the top of the ladder only to find out that it’s against the wrong wall. So, perhaps some of my priorities weren’t in the right place. But, I took a little bit of time and cleared my head. Even though I didn’t want to leave Gucci at that time and it was quite traumatic for me, I tried to learn something from it. The thing I learned was that I never ever in my life want to retire.”
In 2005 Ford partnered with Domenico de Sole who was the former chief executive officer of Gucci to produce his own line Tom Ford which features menswear, eyewear and a fragrance collection. He opened his first store in New York City and now has 21 stores across the world.
One thing that can be said about Ford is that he takes concepts and images that he loves and reinvents them as clothes, bags or shoes so that they will inspire similar connections with consumers.
Tapping off his dream of being an actor, Ford decided to try his hand in film directing. Ford has his very own production company called Fade To Black. In 2009 he released A Single Man, which is based off of Christopher Isherwoods’s 1964 novel. The film is mainly about a gay professor and his struggle with suicidal thoughts after the death of his longtime partner who was killed in a car accident. Taking five years to produce the film, it was well worth the wait for everyone. The film received wonderful reviews from the Venice Film Festival.