Thomas Carlyle Ford, better known today as Tom Ford, is an American fashion designer and film director. Initially trained as an architect at Parsons School of Design, Ford spent a year working abroad at an internship for fashion house Chloé and developed a feel for the fashion industry.
Ford concealed his architecture background and displayed considerable personal charm in his pursuit of a job in the fashion industry. His first position was with American designer Cathy Hardwick. He accepted a position with Perry Ellis, but knew better prospects were available in Europe. Prestigious Italian fashion house Gucci was struggling at the time, and Ford accepted a position in Gucci's women's Ready-to-Wear division in 1990. Ford achieved considerable success at Gucci, eventually heading up multiple divisions before being named Creative Director in 1992. Ford's efforts were pivotal in Gucci's turn-around. The company was nearly bankrupt when Ford joined the organization, but when he left in 2004, the company's value had more than doubled. During Ford's tenure with Gucci, the company acquired Yves Saint Laurent, and Ford created provocative, controversial and highly successful ad campagins for YSL fragrances Opium and M7. These ads were an early indicator of Ford's future direction.