Tom Ford finds R&R overrated

So much for the R&R Tom Ford had planned for his retirement from the fashion industry.

Less than two years after Ford left Gucci in a highly publicized spat, the designer has introduced his first fragrance in his partnership with Estée Lauder — called Youth Dew Amber Nude — and produced the first line under his new Tom Ford banner — eyewear done in conjunction with Italian manufacturer Marcolin.

There are 23 frames and a half-dozen variations of each one.

“I didn’t rest and sleep, the things I thought I wanted to do. I laid in bed thinking, `I’m so bored!'” Ford said.

Ford is also guest editor for Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood issue, which comes out in the spring, and a freestanding Tom Ford menswear store is planned for Manhattan next year.

“I have something to say about menswear. There’s nothing yet for me to say to women — and it may be never and it may be soon. I just don’t know,” Ford says.

Either way, Ford promises a different look than the overtly sexual style that was his trademark. “Tom Ford is always going to be raw, but more sensual and elegant than I was in ’95. The mood changes and I’m not in the mood for `sex’ right now. I’m older, too,” he says.

Eventually there will be Tom Ford boutiques in Milan, Tokyo, London and Los Angeles, says Ford, who was to focus on movies when he left Gucci.

“I am doing some movie stuff. There’s less to show publicly than I had hoped, but hopefully, there’ll be more soon. It’s not the last you’ve heard about me and films,” Ford says. “I have some clout (in Hollywood) but not what I had or still have in fashion.”

He is dipping his toe back into fashion with fragrance, cosmetics and sunglasses for two reasons, he says: “They’re the things I love. As a man, eyewear is one of the few expressive accessories you can have. I couldn’t commit to doing (women’s) ready-to-wear because it takes so much time. … Menswear leaves time to make movies.”

He also wants time to do more skiing, a hobby he’s grown passionate about. But don’t expect to spot him easily on the slopes. Instead of sleek sunglasses with the TF logo, he’ll be wearing a helmet and goggles.

Source: Associated Press

Ford goes nude

Tom Ford is back with a new collection – minus his signature body-hugging silk and leather ensembles.

This time around, the former Gucci creative director is taking on the world of beauty with his inaugural 2005 holiday make-up collection for Estee Lauder.

p7tomford.jpgTom Ford (seen here with Estee Lauder model Caroline Murphy) is expected to roll out a more extensive make-up collection for Estee Lauder next spring.

Ford’s long-standing love affair with neutral colours takes centre-stage in the Tom Ford Estee Lauder Amber Nude Makeup Collection. The face is contoured with bronze and highlighted with a sexy sheen, the eyes smoky, and the lips nude, with or without gloss.

“The colours are based on Mr Ford’s favourite look, which is a play on ‘nude on nude’ with a glamorous edge,” says Estee Lauder’s public relations manager Jean Loh.

p7tom1.jpgTom Ford’s holiday look at Estee Lauder: nude on nude with a sexy sheen to add dimension to the face. – Photo by Ken Wong

Key products in the bare but somewhat pricier – prices start at RM105 for a bottle of nail polish, and RM140 for a lipstick – limited-edition collection are The Eye Gloss in Amber Black and The Face Gloss in Amber Nude – light, creamy tints that are meant to be layered on for a subtly polished or intense look.

The rest of the collection comprises four lip colours (The Lip), a lip-gloss (The Lip Polish), a face colour (The Face), bronzer (The Bronzer) and nail colour (The Lacquer) – all in varying shades of warm, gold-infused beige.

“It is deliberately uncomplicated. Mr Ford wanted to create the most beautiful nude mouth, nail and skin colours with strong, dramatic eyes, so you won’t find five different shades of pink or purple in this collection.

“It’s really one look that works for different skin tones,” adds Loh.

No expense was spared in making the products as decadent as possible, including the injection of 24k gold pigments into The Face Gloss and The Lip Polish, says Loh. “There is just enough gold shimmer in them to give a very light and natural gilded effect when they are applied to the skin. The gold pigment serves to highlight or accentuate your best features and add dimension to your face.

“You can use it on the arch of your eyebrow, on your cheeks and lips, and, if you’re careful, on the bridge of your nose.”

A specially cut piece of amber cabochon adorns the cap of each product while their boxes come with a gold-coloured foil base and a fabric-wrapped top with a gold embossed Estee Lauder logo.

p7tom.jpgFord’s neutral make-up colours for Estee Lauder have been formulated to complement most skin tones. – Photo by Ken Wong

Ford’s partnership with the brand, which also manufactures M.A.C, Bobbi Brown, Stila, Clinique, Prescriptives and Origins cosmetics, is the first for the beauty giant with an ‘outside’ fashion designer – one that is expected to enhance the company’s image and boost sales.

The alliance coincides with the formation of Ford’s new company, Tom Ford, which he founded with former Gucci CEO Domenico De Sole.

Both Ford and De Sole have been credited for reviving the once ailing Gucci with a younger, more daring image. In 1995, Gucci had sales of about US$500mil (RM1.9bil). By the time the pair left in April 2004, they had turned the company into a US$2.4bil (RM9.12bil) empire.

In an interview with The New York Times last April, Ford said that he imagined running a big beauty business by 2010 and that the Tom Ford brand would go back to its roots – genuine luxury. Both Ford and De Sole have been working at establishing a design studio in London and an office in Los Angeles.

“A more extensive make-up collection for Estee Lauder will be launched in spring 2006,” says Loh, adding, “Tom will launch a separate, stand-alone Tom Ford beauty brand next fall.”


Tom Ford’s Bold Move to Brown

ph2005121501774.jpgAnyone who has ever seen designer Tom Ford — formerly of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent — knows he firmly believes in establishing a public style and then sticking with it. Thus it is nearly impossible to find a photograph of him in which he is not attired in his signature uniform: black suit and crisp white dress shirt, typically unbuttoned to mid-chest. In those same photographs, he stares intently into the camera, neither smiling nor snarling. He is quietly brooding but never frowning. A picture of him from this year is virtually indistinguishable from one taken in 2000.

This week, however, Ford was spotted wearing a brown blazer — a departure from form so startling it was like stumbling across Tom Wolfe wearing track pants instead of his iconic white suit.

Designer Tom Ford, stylish in brown, plans to rework his plans for a house on Santa Fe’s east side after objections from his neighbors.

Designer Tom Ford, stylish in brown, plans to rework his plans for a house on Santa Fe’s east side after objections from his neighbors. (By Natalie Guilln — The New Mexican)

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This aesthetic temblor originated in Santa Fe, N.M., where the designer has become involved in a brouhaha over a house he would like to build there. The uproar is a familiar one. Neighbors who would like to preserve the understated charm of their surroundings are fighting the wealthy property owner who wants to build a very large dream home. Ford is no Santa Fe interloper; he grew up there. But according to stories in the Albuquerque Journal and in the New Mexican, his local roots did not stop residents from taking issue with his proposal for an adobe house situated on a hilltop. The original plans called for an estate measuring more than 17,000 square feet, including a garage, a guest apartment and most certainly an impressive amount of closet space for all of those black suits. This week Ford agreed to rework the house.

For his meeting with neighbors on Monday, Ford wore a dark brown blazer and a white Western shirt, as well as jeans and cowboy boots. In photos, he appears to be squinting, but his brow remains fashionably unfurrowed.

There have been only a few other notable exceptions to Ford’s black-suit rule. For his final show at Yves Saint Laurent — the fall 2004 collection — he took his runway bows in a scarlet velvet smoking jacket and white shirt. And this year, he wore only his birthday suit for a fashion story in the November issue of W magazine. The smoking jacket read like a celebratory flourish. The nudity came off like an uncomfortably public display of insecurity and angst.

The brown blazer, however, perfectly exemplifies how a signature style can be reworked so that the distinctive sensibility and character remain the same while the details send entirely new signals.

When Ford is dressed in familiar black and white, the stark contrast suggests the designer has stepped out of a glamorous, glossy photograph. The look conveys formality but not stuffiness. It is sexy and timeless, not flashy. The suit itself could slip unnoticed into any boardroom. The crispness of the shirt conveys the wearer’s attention to detail. And all of that exposed chest makes clear that this is not just any old executive but rather one who deals in sensuality, bravado and immodesty.

(Ford’s signature style spawned a flurry of imitators, the most egregious of which was Jonathan Antin, the mercurial hairstylist who starred in the Bravo show “Blow Out.” Antin even spoke in Ford’s distinctively languorous honey tones.)

In Santa Fe, Ford exchanged the black jacket for a brown one. The shift in color immediately makes Ford seem less formal, less intimidating, less urban and more approachable.

Yet it is still a tailored jacket. And with its high and wide lapels, it is gutsy and fashionable. The style is polished and precise. And those are working buttonholes on the sleeves. A pricey detail. So go ahead and approach, but don’t get too close.

The white shirt is crisp but doesn’t look as severely starched as usual. The shirt snaps instead of buttons and has Western seaming across the chest. It appears to have barrel cuffs instead of French ones. (Although that is a bit unclear since only the standard inch or so of shirt cuff is visible rather than the four or five inches that Ford often likes to let flop out.) It’s not a fancy shirt. But it is not a working man’s shirt either, not with those snaps that look as though they have been inlaid with mother-of-pearl.

Ford is not being ostentatious. But he’s not dressing in denial of his fat bank account either.

Ford still has his shirt unbuttoned. The sex appeal is part of Ford’s charm. And when the neighbors are in a tizzy over one’s proposed mansion, it’s good to be as charming as possible.

The designer astutely safeguards the public image he has crafted. (He’s planning to launch a signature collection of menswear next year.) He hasn’t slipped into a costume in order to create a more empathetic presence. But within the narrow confines of his well-documented style, he has offered his version of casual and welcoming, concerned and sensitive.

Ford hasn’t been digging through some politician’s semiotics war chest. He isn’t trying to make his case in a pullover sweater or with his shirtsleeves rolled up to the elbows to underscore his earthy sincerity.

He’s still engaged in the usual visual politics. He’s just showing much better taste.


Tom Ford Estēe Lauder collection to be launched in ME

20051214051131_final-jd-tf-alz.JPGEarlier this year the Estēe Lauder brand announced its first-of-a-kind creative collaboration with world-renowned fashion designer Tom Ford. The first phase of the collaboration entailed the design of a limited range of fragrance and make up products in time for the Holiday 2005 season. This new collection is now about to be launched in the Middle East solely in the UAE at one exclusive outlet yet to be disclosed.

“We are thrilled that the Tom Ford Estée Lauder collection will be available here in the UAE,“ said Ross Donald, Estée Lauder Brand Manager Middle East. “Tom Ford is a fashion industry icon in the same way that Estée Lauder is a beauty industry icon. It’s a perfect match of luxury, style and beauty which we are confident will resonate with our consumers here in the UAE and wider Middle East region.”

Tom Ford’s visionary perspective and ability to influence cultural trends make him one of the worlds most sought after designers. In the past, he potently injected his unique style and sexy imagery into the long-established fashion brands, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, and now, he has conceptualized the ultimate in luxury beauty for Estēe Lauder.

Speaking about the new collection, Tom Ford commented; “With this fragrance and color collection, I’ve taken Estēe Lauder’s existing vocabulary and tried to reduce it to its purest, most iconic form, making it fresh, modern and contemporary. I drew my inspiration from the brand. My goal was to take the glamour, the history, the quality and the spirit that is Estēe Lauder, and work within that to create a collection for today. It also marks a turn away from disposable beauty, and a return to the ritual of opening a slightly heavy compact and applying a high-quality product with a beautiful applicator. This reflects the intimate side of a woman, at her most glamorous.” Tom Ford

In the coming months Estēe Lauder will introduce to the UAE the Tom Ford Estēe Lauder Collection, specially created for the 2005 holiday season. This collaboration begins with the modern re-interpretation of the legendary Youth Dew fragrance and the original gold-fluted makeup packaging. Capturing and maintaining the rich history of Estēe Lauder, the Youth Dew Amber Nude Limited Edition Fragrance Collection and the Amber Nude Limited Edition Makeup Collection are sophisticated updates that reflect the Tom Ford philosophy of beauty…sensuous and stunning.

The Tom Ford Estēe Lauder Collection features Tom Ford’s re-interpretation of Estēe Lauder’s signature gold fluting finished with a new amber cabochon closure that makes the packaging a sleek, desirable collectible. Tom Ford’s singular vision for the collection extends to the Youth Dew Amber Nude bottle as well as to luxurious lipsticks, compacts and a limited edition, numbered minaudiere that is a re-invention of the classic evening clutch.

This marks the first time in Estēe Lauder history that the brand has collaborated with an outside fashion designer. According to Estēe Lauder Global Brand President, John Demsey, “Tom has the extraordinary capability of reinterpreting and expressing ideas in a totally new and modern way. I can think of no one better to mine the DNA and heritage of the Estēe Lauder brand than Tom Ford.”

Proposed mansion to be redesigned

25519_600x400.jpgFashion designer Tom Ford says he’s redesigning his proposed mansion on Talaya Hill in response to comments from his neighbors.

Ford told the Santa Fe Historic Design Review Board on Tuesday that after seven meetings with neighbors, he has agreed to decrease the footprint of his proposed residence from 17,147 to 16,467 square feet, eliminate one garage bay and make other changes.

But he asked board members to make other suggestions so when his home is finished and new landscaping is in place, the 10-acre site “will be more beautiful than its current denuded state.”

Ford, 44, grew up in Santa Fe, attended Parsons School of Design in New York City and quickly rose to prominence as a designer with Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent . He attended Tuesday’s hearing in his trademark outfit — a white shirt with its top buttons open, dark sports coat, jeans and cowboy boots.

The board agreed to postpone voting on his proposal until Feb. 14, after a meeting at which 10 people spoke — six with objections to the plan and four in favor of it.

East-side resident Carolyn Sigstedt Stephenson asked Ford to refrain from building on the site and instead create a conservation easement there like Sally Wagner has done to land directly adjacent to Ford’s property.

Stephenson and Peter Wolf, an officer in the Canyon Neighborhood Association, called on the board to cancel Tuesday’s hearing. He said Ford’s agents had notified the association two hours before the hearing that it would be canceled, so many critics of the project decided not to come.

But Jennifer Jenkins, a planning consultant for the project, said she meant only to indicate that no vote would be asked of the board Tuesday — and discussion of the plan could continue.

Joan Baker, Lorraine Rotunno, Kevin Dobolsky and David Padwa called on the board to approve Ford’s plans, calling him an asset to Santa Fe. Padwa called Ford “one of the greatest stylists” and said the world media would lampoon the board should it reject his house plans for “not having a sense of style.”

But east-side resident Art Roth called on the board to downsize the house and said Ford’s proposed residence was “a Wal-Mart perched on a hill” and “a battleship cresting on a wave descending down into Santa Fe.”

Santa Fe architect Rad Acton suggested Ford’s Los Angelesbased architect, Ron Radziner, drop the floor elevations at the perimeter of the house, shift the structure to the south, step back the house from the perimeter berm, break up the massing by detaching the garage and guest quarters, and downsize the entire plan.

Photo by Natalie Guillen, Tom Ford in the city council chambers in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Dec. 13, 2005.

Source: The New Mexican

Presentation of his eyewear in Tokyo

After recent launches in Paris and New York, Marcolin presents today the first Tom Ford Eyewear collection in Tokyo to the Japanese press, at the exclusive Park Hyatt hotel.

“Japan is a strategic Market for Marcolin. Japanese Consumers are among the first in the world to purchase Luxury Products: they are quite driven by Exclusive Luxury Goods and pay great deal of attention to details and overall aesthetics of products. Tom Ford Eyewear is an original, sophisticated and custom-made collection, all key elements which particularly suit this Market”, explains Maurizio Marcolin, Ceo of the Marcolin Group.

The distribution policy in Japan will be quite selective, reserved only to the best Department Stores of the Country. For the first few months of the launch the Tom Ford Eyewear sunglasses collection will be sold exclusively at Isetan Shinjuku in Tokyo, the main location of the most prestigious Japanese retail chain carrying upscale fashion apparel and accessories.

“Following the high potential of this luxury brand in Asia and the high expectation for the Tom Ford Eyewear collection, in the near future a part of the optical collection will be adapted for the Asian consumer with a special Asian fitting production”, says Mr. Marcolin.

His Paris Fragrance Launch

Tom Ford staged his latest launch in Paris on Thursday night, and got heavy Hollywood back up for the event.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Liz Hurley, Roman Polanski and Emmanuelle Seigneur showed up for the Continental launch of his updating of Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew Amber Nude. This marked stage number two in the rebirth of Ford as a designer brand in his own right and not, as before at Gucci, the best-paid hired gun in fashion. Stage one was Tom’s presentation of his eyewear line last month in Paris.

It also underlined that Ford’s return to luxury completely inverts the traditional career trajectory and growth plan of building a designer label. That usually means creating a fashion collection, staging a show, scoring a ready-to-wear license, opening a boutique and, if all that works and generations heat and attention, finally making money by putting your name on all sorts of licenses – like accessories, scents and eyewear.

Tom Ford and his FragranceFord, in short, has launched his own brand by doing it exactly the other way around. And, judging from a free wheeling conversation with Ford in Paris on Thursday, that’s something he gets quite a kick out of.

“I must be one of the only designers who has had the ability to do it. I am well known, and people know my taste and style. This gave me the ability to launch a company without any outside investors,” explained Ford, who hosted an apres dinner for 25 at Caviar Kaspia. Catherine Deneuv and Elizabeth Saltzmann joined him for the meal of Breton Lobster and beluga.

The Sante Fe, Texas-born design star does have one partner, Domenico De Sole, his partner during their extraordinarily successful rein at Gucci, where they build a red ink spilling brand into a three-billion dollar luxury group in barely a decade.

Indeed, one of things that attracted Ford to Estee Lauder was precisely the fact that one family controls the fragrance business.

“I’ve known Lauder family socially for many years, and the fact that it is a family owned business means there is an attention to detail and a passion that, in my view, makes them the perfect partner,” he stresses.

“Plus, as a kid in the US, Estee Lauder really dominated fragrance in the States, so they are really the best. Moreover, I’ve known John Demsey six years now. Matter of fact, I tried to steal him away for Gucci, when we acquired YSL and added a whole lot of fragrance labels. What John did for Mac was incredible, and now he’s the President of Lauder. So, it was really the people,” Tom adds.

Fragrance of Tom FordFord’s own fragrance line won’t be out until next fall, as developing your own scent from scratch takes so long.

“You need 18 months to develop your own fragrance, so the Lauders suggested that I take something on the shelf. I liked the idea of Youth Dew, it built Estee Lauder, rather like No 5 built Chanel. And my grandmother wore Youth Dew. That sounds like I made that up but I didn’t. It’s really true,” he stresses.

“I wanted Amber Nude to be lighter, and we went back to IFF the company that developed it in 1953 and revamped and modernized it,” says Ford of the scent, sometimes known as the first oriental scent due to its richer, deeper spicy and woody notes.

Given that his final show at Yves Saint Laurent was Chinese inspired, one wondered if Ford thinks of himself as a modern oriental? “The Chinese aesthetic I have always liked – my new house in London is Chinese Chippendale,” was all he would allow.

For the ad campaign, Ford used one of Lauder’s spokesmodels Carolyn Murphy. “But I wanted to show a different side of her. So Craig McDean made her look very, very sexy. I wanted to see her a little loser for the Estee woman. For me, she is one of the most beautiful women in the world.”

Still, it does seem a tad ironic that one of Ford’s first steps in his new independent career is reviving a 50-year-old perfume.

“My history as a designer is of going in and revamping a brand that exists already. My first foray into something new – will be my own brand,’ he responds.

“Two part, my own fragrance, starts fall 06, when we launch a women’s Tom Ford fragrance, a very tight makeup collection and a group of unisex fragrances. I always loved fragrance. I wear too much. When women embrace me, or give me a kiss, they always say ‘you smell so good,’ which is maybe normal, as I am usually doused in it,” Ford continues.

Ford, ever the gentleman, adamantly refuses to talk about his past at Gucci, the bitter departure, or reveal his opinion of any of his successors. Nonetheless, he bristles at any suggestion that he was anything but successful at anything at Gucci Group.

“I worked in scents for years, relaunched the entire Gucci brand, and its fun. With each Gucci scent we usually won every award there was to win. In the fragrance awards of Fifi, we won several for each scent… Gucci eyewear sold over a million frames a year when I was there, so this was an area where I had real success and know very, very well.,” he underlines.

Returning to his ability to invert the traditional career path for establishing a fashion brand, Ford explains that’s he also taking a new approach to developing a Ford fashion wing.

“In terms of men’s, I need to go away and do some work – after today I go to Tokyo – and then no more interviews for about a year,” he insists.

But before that he has to complete a gig with Vanity Fair magazine,

art directing its Hollywood portfolio, due out before the Oscars. He’s mum about who will be in it, but says the shooting schedule is exhausting. ‘We’ve been everywhere; last two weeks in LA, London this weekend, Spain and Paris. It’s been great fun, but a lot of work.”

In news sure to disappoint fashionistas, Ford has no plans to do a fashion show.

“It’s not part of world I inhabit now. I have no interest in doing one. It’s kind of a counter fashion show my concept. I am a little tired seeing all the same outfits everywhere. I want to create bespoke, private, exclusive – it’s not meant for the masses,” he explains.

He does reveal, however, that all his men’s wear will be manufactured in Italy, very quick turnaround of within four weeks of ordering a suit and with boutiques where experienced tailors who will greet customers. And his collection will include, well, everything – shoes, leather goods, ties, shirts, tennis clothes, knits, cufflinks, formal, white tie, smoking and shooting. And, for Ford fanatics, the good news is that you only have to wait until autumn 2006 when he opens his first boutiques on Madison Avenue.

But, he yelps: “I can’t say more, because otherwise people will start copying my ideas before we have even started them!”