Tom Ford, a successful one-man band, opened up in a statement to Vogue magazine. “If you're a perfectionist like me, no matter what you achieve, you never feel satisfied or it's not perfect enough,” he mused. “That's the only thing that drives me. I always think that he could have done something more. So hopefully I'll have time to do that,” he added.
Who knows if he already sensed that he was going to reach a new stage in his existence. Designer, film director, art collector, provocateur in the world of fashion, Ford, at 61, is all of that and more. He has become part of the Forbes billionaires list, a condition for which a fortune of more than 1,000 million must be available.
A few days ago it was announced that Estée Lauder, a giant of cosmetics and skin care in full expansion, had reached an agreement to buy the company The Tom Ford Brand for a total of 2.800 million dollars. It's the biggest deal in the luxury industry this year. Ford will maintain its brand until the end of 2023, without it being clear what role it will play. The only progress that has been made is that he will continue as a "creative visionary."
The multi-talented and groundbreaking creative founded his company in 2005 and soon became a powerhouse in luxury apparel and accessories. It seems like a natural step as the two companies have already been associated for more than a decade. Ford, which owns 64% of his company, will receive around $1.1 billion in cash for this sale after taxes.
Pending regulatory approval, the acquisition will close in the first half of next year and represents the consecration of a designer who began by hiding from clothing brands that he was an architecture graduate with no design training or experience.
Born in Texas, Ford moved to New York as a teenager. He was still able to enjoy the aftershocks of the luminous era of Studio 54, a cult venue that marked an entire era. Maybe that's where it all started, when he served as a model for photographer Christopher Makos, from the Warhol factory.
From that photograph to his contribution to the Metropolitan Museum in New York and its Fashion Institute, Ford has written and directed two films –A Single Man, in 2009, and Nocturnal Animals, 2016–, although when he forged a name for himself it was as creative director of Gucci despite the policy imposed by this brand of fashion items.
Ford came to the Italian firm when it was in a bad financial moment, as head of women's clothing design. His activity expanded in view of his success, since he managed to introduce an elegant line, and, at the same time, sexy and ready for everyday use.
But there was an ego problem. Despite the fact that his vision was essential in the revival of this brand, the creative felt discouraged because he could not place himself in the center of the spotlight. Maurizio Gucci wanted to keep his designers anonymous. By contract, Ford was not allowed to put his signature. The owner had the philosophy that what was important was the brand, not the designer.
In the fall 1995 campaign, Ford finally took control of his work and signed his designs. “I reached that point where I could design whatever I wanted because nobody was looking over my shoulder and I was very proud of what I did,” he confessed in the Vogue interview.
With his influence established, Ford helped shape the red carpets of the 1990s and early 1990s. The looks that she created for women like Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Rihanna or Beyoncé consolidated her iconic status. And they were the steps that have led him to climb the list of billionaires.