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Ford, Tom (b. 1961)  
 
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Fashion designer Tom Ford was creative director at both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. He has subsequently become a film director.

Ford was born August 27, 1961 in Austin, Texas, to real estate agents Tom Ford and Shirley Burton. He spent his early life in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. His family relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico, when he was 11.

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Ford has attributed his "good taste" to his mother, whom he has described as a flamboyant "Southern belle."

At age 16, Ford enrolled at Bard College at Simon's Rock, New York, but quickly dropped out. He then spent a year studying art history at New York University.

Ford dropped out of NYU to pursue a career acting in television commercials; at one time, he was in 12 national advertising campaigns simultaneously.

Ford's career in fashion began when he enrolled at the Parsons School of Design in New York, where he studied interior design as well as fashion. Positions at Cathy Hardwick and Perry Ellis followed.

Ford also studied interior architecture at the New School. He also studied fashion at the New School, but received his degree in architecture.

In 1990 Ford joined Gucci and, despite Maurizio Gucci's desire to fire Ford because he felt he was too trendy, by 1994 he had been promoted to creative director. His style and appreciation of luxury are such that his designs became instant classics.

Until his resignation in April 2004, Ford was responsible for the design of all product lines at Gucci, from clothing to perfumes, and for the company's corporate image advertising campaigns and store designs. In this role he oversaw a complete turnaround at Gucci, updating its styles and bringing it once more into the forefront of fashion.

Ford injected what he believed was a much needed sexualized glamour into Gucci's clothes. This new sexuality was evident in his seminal 1995 Studio 54 collection, his first as creative director.

In January 2000 after Gucci Group NV won a battle with LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) to buy the Yves Saint Laurent label, Ford became designer and creative director for Couture and Yves Saint Laurent Perfumes and designer for the YSL Rive Gauche label.

Ford's menswear collections for Gucci combined crotch-hugging jeans with velvet jackets, while for YSL Rive Gauche he redefined suave for a new generation by playing with Saint Laurent's "Le Smoking," the tuxedo Saint Laurent designed for women in 1965.

Ford has both tapped into and assisted the fundamental long-term change in men's attitude towards their own appearance. Indeed, many fashion journalists have heralded him as the savior of men's fashion

Interviewed for Loaded Fashion in 2001, Ford told Adrian Clark, "Menswear is moving much faster than it has ever before. Men are finally accepting the role of sexual attraction and are more comfortable with it. It isn't just a gay thing to enjoy fashion any more. In the eighteenth century men would wear little red shoes and paint beauty spots on their face--and they were straight! Men will quite openly check their butt in the mirror in public now to see how a pair of trousers fit. I am so tired of that belief that if you like fashion you must be a fag."

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Tom Ford in a promotional photograph for A Single Man (2009), a film based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood. Ford directed the film. Image courtesy asingleman-movie.com.
  
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