In 1979, at the age of 16, Tom Ford left Santa Fe for Great Barrington, Massachusetts to attend Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Ford soon dropped out and moved to New York City. He studied art history at New York University, but quit after one year to focus on television commercial acting. He then studied interior architecture at Parsons New School for Design. While at the New School, Ford was a regular at the notorious nightclub, Studio 54. During this time Ford realized he was gay. Before graduating from the New School, Ford worked as an intern at Chloe in Paris and fell in love with fashion.
In 1990, Ford relocated to Milan to work at Gucci as the brand’s chief women’s ready-to-wear designer. When Ford arrived, Gucci was a struggling and his role grew to designing menswear and shoes. By 1992, he became Gucci’s design director and by 1994, creative director. As creative director, he introduced thin satin shirts, metallic boots and low-rise clothing while increasing Gucci’s sales by 90%. He left Gucci in 2004 and one year later started FADE TO BLACK, a film production company. In 2009, he directed his first film, A Single Man, based on the Christopher Isherwood novel. The film was nominated for several awards including the Academy Award for best picture. Ford, who is openly gay, has been with his partner, fashion journalist Richard Buckley since 1986. Fun fact: Tom and Richard have two smooth fox terriers, Angus and India, which appeared in Ford’s film, A Single Man.