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Tom Ford has redefined the role of fashion designer. Born in Austin, Texas, Tom spent his teenage years in Sante Fe, New Mexico, before enrolling in an art history course at New York University. In Manhatten, Tom’s extracurricular activities included acting in TV advertisements and hanging out at both Studio 54 and Warhol’s Factory. He transferred to architecture at Parsons School of Design in New York and Paris but by the end of the course, realised that he wanted to work in fashion. In 1986, he joined the design studio of Cathy Hardwick, moving to Perry Ellis two years later as design director. In 1990, Tom became womenswear designer at Gucci. In 1994, he was made creative director at Gucci and the following March showed a landmark collection. Almost overnight, Gucci became a byword for desirability, offering the most aspirational and hedonistic kind of fashion. When the Gucci Group purchased Yves Sain Laurent in January 2000, Tom began designing menswear and womenswear for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and soon earned the titles of both creative director of the Gucci Group and vice-chairman of the management board of Gucci Group. In 2004, Tom left the company and exactly one year later announced the creation of his eponymous brand. From a naked Sophie Dahl writhing around in ecstasy to the smell of the fragrance Opium, to Carmen Kass’s pubic hair carved neatly into the shape of a ‘G’, the first word that comes to mind when you think of Tom is sex. He always manages to send the fashion world into a frenzy with his outrageously sensual designs. Today, Tom designs for his own label, has added film directing (A Single Man starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Nicolas Hoult) to his repertoire, an i-D cover with his dog, John for The Man and Beast Issue, July 2001 and is still reminded of hedonistic nights at both Studio 54 and Warhol’s Factory, whenever he hears the sound of Donna Summer.


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