Sunday, June 16, 2013

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight is an American fashion designer,film director and a dad.He gained international fame for his turnaround of the Gucci fashion house and the creation of his own label before directing the Oscar-nominated film A Single Man. Today's Out Spotlight is Tom Ford.

Thomas Carlyle "Tom" Ford was born August 27, 1961, in Austin, Texas, to realtors Tom Ford and Shirley Burton. He spent his early life in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, and in San Marcos, outside Austin; his family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, when he was 11. In Santa Fe, he entered St. Michael's High School and later moved to Santa Fe Preparatory School, from which he graduated in 1979. Ford left Santa Fe at age 16, when he enrolled at Bard College at Simon's Rock, but quickly dropped out then moved to New York City to study art history at New York University.
Ford dropped out of NYU after only a year, preferring to concentrate on acting in television commercials; at one time, he was in 12 national advertising campaigns simultaneously. He then began studying interior architecture at The New School's famous art and design college, Parsons The New School for Design. During his time in New York, he became a fixture at the Studio 54, where he realized he was gay. The club's disco-era glamor would be a major influence on his later designs. Before his last year at New School, he spent a year and a half in Paris, where he worked as an intern in ChloƩ's press office. Though his work primarily involved sending clothes out on photo shoots, it triggered his love of fashion. He spent his final year at The New School studying fashion, but nonetheless graduated with a degree in architecture.

When interviewing for jobs after graduation, he said that he had attended The New School's Parsons division, but concealed that he graduated in architecture and that his work at Chloe was a low-level public relations position. Despite his lack of experience, Ford called American designer Cathy Hardwick every day for a month in hopes of securing a job at her mid-price sportswear company. Eventually, she agreed to see him. Hardwick later recalled the incident: "I had every intention of giving him no hope. I asked him who his favorite European designers were. He said, 'Armani and Chanel.' Months later I asked him why he said that, and he said, 'Because you were wearing something Armani'. Is it any wonder he got the job?" Ford worked as a design assistant for Hardwick for two years.

In 1988, Ford moved to Perry Ellis, where he knew both Robert McDonald, the company's president, and Marc Jacobs, its designer, socially. He stayed at the company for two years, but grew tired of working in American fashion. In a interview with the New York Times, he commented, "If I was ever going to become a good designer, I had to leave America. My own culture was inhibiting me. Too much style in America is tacky. It's looked down upon to be too stylish. Europeans, however, appreciate style." He would soon have the opportunity to enter the world of European fashion: Gucci, a faltering luxury goods company, was seeking to strengthen its women's ready-to-wear presence as a part of its brand overhaul. At the time, "no one would dream of wearing Gucci," said Dawn Mello, then the company's creative director. Mello hired Ford—then a near-unknown—as the brand's chief women's ready-to-wear designer in 1990. "I was talking to a lot of people, and most didn't want the job," Mello said. "For an American designer to move to Italy to join a company that was far from being a brand would have been pretty risky." Ford and his longtime partner, fashion journalist Richard Buckley, relocated to Milan that September.

His role at Gucci rapidly expanded: he was designing menswear within six months, and shoes soon after that. When Richard Lambertson left as design director in 1992, Ford took over his position, heading the brand's ready-to-wear, fragrances, image, advertising, and store design. In 1993, when he was in charge of designing eleven product lines, Ford worked eighteen-hour days. During these years, there were creative tensions between Ford and Maurizio Gucci, the company's chairman and 50% owner. According to Mello, "Maurizio always wanted everything to be round and brown, and Tom wanted to make it square and black." Though Maurizio Gucci wanted to fire Ford, Domenico de Sole insisted that he remain. Nonetheless, Ford's work during the early 1990s was primarily behind the scenes; his contributions to Gucci were overshadowed by those of Mello, who was the company's public face.

In 1994, Ford was promoted to creative director. In his first year at the helm, he was credited with putting the glamour back into fashion introducing Halston-style velvet hipsters, skinny satin shirts and car-finish metallic patent boots. In 1995, he brought in French stylist Carine Roitfeld and photographer Mario Testino to create a series of new, modern ad campaigns for the company. Between 1995 and 1996, sales at Gucci increased by 90%.

By 1999, the house, which had been almost bankrupt when Ford joined, was valued at about $4.3 billion. When Ford left in 2004, Gucci Group was valued at $10 billion.

When Gucci acquired the house of Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), Ford was named the creative director of that label as well, displacing Saint Laurent himself as designer of the company's ready-to-wear line. Saint Laurent did not hide his displeasure with this development, openly and regularly criticizing Ford's collections. "The poor man does what he can," he is quoted as once saying of his successor.[18] During his time as Creative Director for YSL, Ford nonetheless won numerous Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards. Like his work at Gucci, Ford was able to catapult the classic fashion house back into the mainstream. His advertising campaigns for the YSL fragrances Opium (with a red-haired Sophie Dahl completely naked wearing only a necklace and stiletto heels in a sexually suggestive pose) and YSL M7 (with martial arts champion Samuel de Cubber in complete full-frontal nudity) have been famous and provocative by pushing fragrance ads to a new level of creativity in artistic expression and commercial impact.

In April 2004, he parted ways with the Gucci group after he and CEO Domenico de Sole, who is credited as Ford's partner in Gucci's success, failed to agree with PPR bosses over artistic control of the Group. He has since referred to this experience as "devastating" because he had "put everything into that for fifteen years." 

A true Renaissance man,Ford branched into films, in March 2005, Ford announced the opening of his film production company, FADE TO BLACK. In 2009, he made his film directorial debut with the award winning A Single Man, which was based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood. The film stars Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult and Matthew Goode.

Ford and he and his partner, journalist Richard Buckley, have been together since 1986. Buckley was the former Editor in Chief of Vogue Hommes International. Buckley was diagnosed with cancer in 1989 and after his recovery the two moved from New York to Italy.

The couple have owned three smooth fox terriers. Their first dog, named John, lived fourteen years with Ford and Buckley, and appeared on the runway and in some photos with Ford. Currently, they own Angus and India, who are six and four years old, respectively. These smooth fox terriers appeared in Ford's movie A Single Man.

The couple reported the birth of their son, Alexander John Buckley Ford, in September 2012.


Seaweed said...


Are you ready ???

It's Hockey Night in Boston!

Time to separate the bullshit from the buckwheat.


Special K said...

Oh I am ready. Bring it own!

prairiegirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
prairiegirl said...

lol, Special, you crack me up.

How can you be playing hockey in June?! It's almost the 4th of July?

Man, what a pit of a day! It started off with rain, abruptly putting a stop to the walk so I decided to go in early. It just went downhill from there at an alarmingly accelerated rate. Just one of THE worst. But I am now the grateful owner of another bluetooth so the anxiety level has been greatly reduced.

prairiegirl said...

Now that I'm relaxed and able to play at will on my laptop, I wanted to join in the 'Dad' chatter from yesterday. I enjoyed hearing about Tom's dad and Special, your dad I know he loves you big time and the feeling is returned tenfold.

My dad didn't golf, didn't really read books, didn't work on cars, any of that stuff where you could always find something easily for Christmas or his birthday. When I was on a H.S./college budget, I'd always get him a bar of Avon Soap-on-a-Rope and he absolutely loved it. If he was ever disappointed, he never showed it.

Dad wasn't famous; he worked 8 to 5 every day at the same place for 30 yrs. And when he hurt his back enough to go in the hospital for awhile, he had to give up what he was doing as a supervisor and the company offered him a job as their janitor. So that's quite, you know, a change for someone. But my dad took it, probably because he didn't have a college education. He came from a poor family, a lot of kids. And he had 3 kids to support.

And I'll tell you what, my dad became the best janitor he could be. He cleaned toilets and floors and he learned all about waxes and he loved to look at vacuums and scrub brushes, stuff like that, lol. He also had to start working nights because of the job switch and now I know how hard that had to be. But he learned what he could and he took pride in his floors. He put 2 of us through college on that, plus my mom's hamburger drive-in money, and we never wanted for anything.

He taught us love and hard work and I always appreciated his work ethic to provide for us, but never as much as I do now. And I wish he was here so I could tell him. But he did a great job and a kid could never be prouder.

Talk about a simple life but I don't think anyone could ever ask more from a pastor or priest at one's memorial service when they say you were "a good man" or "A good person." I think that's about the highest compliment any of us could ever have bestowed on us after we've gone.

Anyway, that's my Dad speech. Nothing extraordinary in there, is there? And yet, there is because now I see.

Special K said...

It is the Stanley Cup Finals.

I remember away for business, sitting in my hotel room in San Antonio,TX, ordering in room service so I could watch Ray Bourque get to win The Cup. (Even if he had to win it with Colorado) It was 104F outside. I had the AC cranked full blast and watching hockey in June.

prairiegirl said...

Ohhhh, the Stanley Cup Finals. I don't know, it just seems wrong to be playing a winter game when it's hot outside.

Gosh Special, is Boston going to let the other 50 states take a stab at some play offs?! lol. Geez!! Seems like you guys are always in the finals of something going on.

prairiegirl said...

Speaking of San Antonio.......I have family there.

Aaaaaand, And, and.... I knew I had one cousin in Austin but guess what, I found out a couple of weeks ago that I have yet another cousin who lives in Austin. Imagine that!!! She was up here to visit and well, lo and behold. And the two of them didn't know they lived in the same city.

It's just this very small world, isn't it? ;D

Special K said...

PG what a wonderful tribute to your dad. What a wonderful example of a husband and father. I know that his (and your mom's) hard work and commitment has shaped you and your brother and sister to be hard working, kind and caring. Nothing can be a better example of a great parent(s) than their children.