“All I’ve done my entire life is fulfil my destiny.”
Tom Ford is a prominent creative entrepreneur whose accomplishments—first in the fashion world and later in the film industry—have earned him worldwide acclaim.
Born in Austin, Texas, Ford grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At 17, he moved to New York to study art history at New York University, but was smitten with fashion and design. He graduated with a degree in architecture from what is now Parsons The New School for Design.
His first foray into fashion was in Paris, where he interned for Chloe. He worked for American designer Cathy Hardwick next, before moving on to Perry Ellis.
Ford moved to Milan in 1990, where he served as Gucci’s head women’s designer. Two years later, he was named design director. In 1994, he became creative director of Gucci's Italian label. Ford is credited with turning around the historic fashion house in his short time at the company. In 2000, he was granted new responsibilities at sister label Yves Saint Laurent, where he served as the creative director for YSL Rive Gauche and YSL Beaute.
In 2005, Ford left Gucci and formed his own fashion brand, TOM FORD. Two years later, his flagship store opened in New York. By the summer of 2010, TOM FORD had opened 20 more stores worldwide. In addition to his remarkable financial success, Ford has won many prestigious awards, including five from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Ford’s lifetime ambition, however, was to make a film. He says, “I guess I’m just one of these people who when I decide I’m going to do something, I just do it.” In 2009, he wrote, produced, financed and directed “A Single Man,” an adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel. The movie centers on a gay man’s mourning over his partner’s tragic death. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for numerous awards, including a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for Colin Firth.
Ford lives with his partner of more than 20 years, journalist Richard Buckley, in their London, Santa Fe and Los Angeles homes.