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.”