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Tom Ford is a fashion designer and film director who was the Creative Director of Gucci from 1994-2004. He founded his own Tom Ford fashion label in 2004.
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Ford called Hardwick's office every day for a month straight. Hoping to finally get rid of this annoying caller, Hardwick herself finally answered the phone and asked Ford how soon he could take a meeting. Just under two minutes later, Ford arrived in her office. (He had been calling from the lobby.) Hardwick recalls their memorable first meeting: "I had every intention of giving him no hope. I asked him who his favorite European designers were. He said,
'Armani and Chanel.' Months later I asked him why he said that, and he said, 'Because you were wearing something Armani.'"
Hardwick offered Ford a job, and after two years as Hardwick's design assistant, Ford landed a job designing jeans for Perry Ellis on New York's Seventh Avenue. Then in 1990, Ford moved to Milan to assume the role of Womenswear Designer for Gucci. At the time, the exalted leather company was hampered by management infighting and a struggle to keep up with market trends. Ford instantly breathed new life into Gucci. He ascended quickly through the company's ranks, rising to Design Director in 1992 and to Creative Director in 1994.
Ford completely revamped Gucci's image—replacing the minimalism of the early 1990s with updated retro looks that oozed sex appeal. He expanded the company into a host of new ventures, including men's and women's sportswear, eveningwear and home furnishings. Under Ford's leadership, Gucci acquired the venerable French brand Yves Saint Laurent, fueling remarkable growth in the company's sales. Over the course of the decade, Ford served as Gucci's driving force (1994-2004), and the company's annual sales increased from $230 million to $3 billion.
After French multinational Pinault Printemps Redoute bought Gucci in 2004, Ford resigned from the company. In 2005, he founded his own fashion company, Tom Ford Brand, which offers menswear, eyewear and beauty products. Ford created significant buzz for his new company when he posed on the cover of a 2006 issue of Vanity Fair wearing Tom Ford Brand menswear, sandwiched between Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johansson, both of whom posed nude.
In 2009, Ford made a foray into the film industry with his debut film, A Single Man, starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. Ford co-wrote and directed the film, based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood. A Single Man won wide critical acclaim, garnering Firth an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and Ford an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay.
One of the most decorated designers of his generation, Ford has won numerous fashion awards for his work with Gucci and his own Tom Ford Brand. He has won five Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, four VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards and was named 2001's GQ designer of the year.
Although he is well into his 40s, in a long-term monogamous relationship (with fashion journalist Richard Buckley), and perched atop a self-branded fashion empire, Ford continues to promote himself with a youthful and sexually charged image. And he says he is untroubled by the seeming incongruity between his personal life and his public image. "I guess I'm hyper-self-conscious about people thinking that I'm egotistical," he says, "but there's a difference between being egotistical and knowing your value as a product and an actor. I know my value as a product, and I've divorced myself as a human from myself as a product."
© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
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Each day, we put on clothes that do more than just cover up bodies. We choose clothes that represent our personalities, our moods, the times we live in, our ambitions and our desires. Who are the people behind the designs we wear every day? These fashion designers who have made fashion a huge industry, and whose work is as controversial, and as influential, as traditional art. These are some of the designers who have dressed the world's most famous people—and are hugely famous in their own right.
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