Tom Ford was born in Austin, Texas. In 1990, he moved to Milan to join Gucci as the company’s womenswear designer. In 1992, Ford became design director and, in 1994, he was promoted to creative director. When Yves Saint Laurent and YSL Beauté were acquired by the Gucci Group in January 2000, Ford was named that label’s creative director as well. During his 10 years as creative director at Gucci, sales increased from $230 million to nearly $3 billion, making it one of the largest and most profitable luxury brands in the world.
In April 2005, Ford announced the creation of the TOM FORD brand. He was joined in this venture by former Gucci Group President and CEO Domenico De Sole, who serves as chairman of the company. That same year, Ford announced partnerships with Marcolin, to produce and distribute optical frames and sunglasses, and Estée Lauder, to create TOM FORD BEAUTY. Both the eyewear and beauty collections have been hugely successful and rank among the top brands at specialty stores around the globe.
His first directly owned flagship store was opened in New York City in April 2007, coinciding with the debut of the TOM FORD menswear and accessory collection. In September 2010, Ford launched his much anticipated womenswear collection. Presently, there are 102 freestanding TOM FORD stores and shop-in-shops worldwide.
In March 2005, Ford launched Fade to Black, a film production company through which he directed, produced, and co-wrote his first feature film. The 2009 film, A Single Man, received multiple awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Colin Firth (Best Actor), who played the picture’s titular character.
Throughout his career, Ford has been a leader in the fight against AIDS. In 1997, he was honored by AIDS Project Los Angeles for Gucci’s work on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS. Ford is a faithful supporter of Project Angel Food and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and has been a loyal friend to amfAR for many years, generously donating his time and talents to fundraising events like the Inspiration Series and Cinema Against AIDS.