The American designer has announced the exit from his own label, Tom Ford, after 13 years in business
After 13 years at his own, eponymous label, it has been announced that Tom Ford is leaving the brand he began. The news comes with the release of his final ready-to-wear Autumn/Winter 2023 collection, which whips through the designer’s own archives and reissues some of his dazzling, favourite looks from the label’s storied history.
The re-editions offer a chance to take stock of precisely what the Texas-born designer stood for. Tom Ford was defined by a glitzy and confident glamour that could be easily epitomised in a business strategy – ’sex sells’. And that it did. Brought to the creative helm of Gucci in 1994 while it was worth a meagre $250 million and facing bankruptcy, the designer rewrote the doctrines of the Italian label, infusing it with desirable and lustful provocation. A sense of cool epitomised the new era of 90s sex and glamour, and by 1999, Gucci’s international sales boasted over $4 billion.
Iconic, steamy advertising campaigns – including one where a model’s pubic hair was shaved into the shape of Gucci’s logo – were rejected by advertising watchdogs but further stood to prove what Ford’s defiant vision for fashion was. After the Gucci group acquired Saint Laurent (stylised ‘Yves Saint Laurent‘ at the time), Ford led the creative direction for both brands, before leaving the Gucci Group in 2004. He then launched his own label under his name, which continued his perfectly crafted world of heady and hedonistic glamour.
Now exiting Tom Ford, and in turn, fashion in general, this assuredly won’t be the last we see of the designer. His critically acclaimed, aesthetically beautiful films such as A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals have earned him Academy Awards as a director under his own production company, Fade to Black. Some of Ford’s directorial prowess is on display in the campaign video for his new, final collection. Shot by Steven Klein and styled by Carine Roitfeld, the film features supermodels Amber Valletta, Karlie Kloss, Karen Elson and Joan Small standing tall in the reissued looks, celebrating a resplendent 13 years of the Tom Ford label.
No successor to the brand has been named, but rumour has it that Ford’s longtime menswear deputy Peter Hawkings will be taking the reins. “People who are not working are so boring and are usually bored,” Ford told Another Man in the magazine’s Spring/Summer 2011 issue. “I think to have something that you work at – whether it’s a job at a bank or writing a novel – is so important. You have to have a passion, you have to be passionate, you have to be engaged and you have to be contributing to the world.”