Tom Ford has made the unexpected decision to leave his fashion company.
Tom Ford (the man) and Tom Ford (the brand) were both revived a year after he left Saint Laurent and completed his exit from Gucci, the brand he nearly single-handedly transformed as the most essential name in fashion. It was 2005. It's safe to assume that after Tom Ford's exit in 2023, the company will carry on without him.
Ford's announcement lacked the usual preambles and comments accompanying such earth-shattering revelations as of recent. A series of photos and videos were posted to the Tom Ford brand's Instagram account with the caption, "Tom Ford, in his final collection for his eponymous brand, has turned to his archives and reissued his favourite looks from the past 13 years."
Tom Ford debuted a line of womenswear in 2010. It continues, "Now, for his final collection, more than a decade later, he pays homage to the TOM FORD woman with limited re-editions of his best-known iconic signature looks."
Models Amber Valetta, Joan Smalls, and Karlie Kloss wore the kind of ultra-glam ensembles that are common in Ford's work. Longtime friends Carine Roitfeld and Steven Klein were responsible for the styling and photography of Ford's final campaign.
This was unmistakably a Tom Ford collection; sequins, slinky dresses, power blazers with pooling slacks, and plenty of sex appeal abound.
Because so many signature Tom Ford touches have been reimagined for this final collection, it could be considered the pinnacle of fashion design.
Since 2005, Tom Ford has remained largely unchanged as a brand, spanning 18 years. Always one to buck trends, he has consistently offered slim-cut men's and women's clothing.
Ford, like Giorgio Armani, has a core group of customers who are extremely loyal. He doesn't go for attention by creating outrageous statement items, and he doesn't design "streetwear"; rather, Ford creates extremely high-priced, elegant apparel. The results are positive. It was predicted that by 2022, Tom Ford's label would earn over $800 million.
One of the major fashion stories of 2022 was Estée Lauder's $2.8 billion purchase of Tom Ford's namesake brand, with the expectation that the company would concentrate on Ford's highly lucrative fragrance line (Zegna still has the licence for Ford's clothes line).
Intriguingly, Tom Ford is not necessarily exiting the fashion industry. There isn't much explanation in the Tom Ford Instagram pictures, other than that this archival collection is Ford's final for his eponymous company.
Another option is for him to simply retire. Since Tom Ford has already pioneered the fashion industry as its avant garde, founded and sold his own wildly successful line, led the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and directed a critically acclaimed film, he deserves a well-deserved vacation on a tropical island.
Given his status as a major force in the fashion industry, however, it seems unlikely that we have heard the last of Tom Ford either as a person or as a business.