Is Tom Ford Selling His Namesake Company to Gucci—Where He Got His Start?

The L.A. super-designer is ready to make a fashionable exit, with some saying he’s going to try filmmaking now… because, sure

Irony of ironies. Mega designer Tom Ford is in line to sell his brand—women’s clothes, men’s clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, fragrances, eyewear and makeup—and the highest bidder is none other than French-based luxury giant Kering SA, according to the Wall Street Journal.

That’s right: Kering, chaired by Francois-Henri Pinault, husband of Salma Hayek, the conglomerate that owns Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta—and Gucci, where Ford made his entrance into the big leagues of fashion in 1994, when he was named Creative Director. Back at that time, as anyone who saw House of Gucci knows, Gucci as a brand was bankrupt and utterly out of fashion. Ford remade it into the trendiest brand in the world, injecting the clothes with sexiness, danger, edge – the essence of modern glamor.

Courtesy Tom Ford/Instagram. (Photo by ADAM KATZ SINDING)

This summer, Ford began working with investment bank Goldman Sachs to evaluate the worth of his eponymous brand. With apparel, eyewear, fragrances, accessories and beauty, it’s probably in the three billion dollar range. It’s not clear if Tom Ford would remain creative director, or simply walk away. And who on earth would design it? Many luxury brands are seeing revolving doors of designers these days; it’s musical chairs for creative director roles.

Kering also now owns Saint Laurent, where Ford was also creative director from 1999 to 2004, when he left to start his eponymous label. Those with a sense of fashion history will know that early adopters of Ford’s initial Gucci collections were Madonna, Elizabeth Hurley, Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow. His impeccable mens’ suiting became the favorite of Brad Pitt, Colin Firth, Bradley Cooper and David Beckham.

Another current contender for the Tom Ford brand, among a few: Estee Lauder, which happens to be the brand umbrella for Tom Ford makeup. That deal, initially rumored over the summer, was valued at three billion dollars or more, but it’s not clear if that encompassed Ford’s cosmetics, or even his entire clothing empire. There are still other rivals in line to snap up Ford’s brand, but Kering is in advanced discussions now, given its own healthy worth of about $60 billion.

Kering’s been riding high with brands Gucci, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta for some time. Lauder, on the other hand, has seen sales drop in the midst of the pandemic, particularly in China.

Tom Ford Fragrance/Instagram

In this time of inflation and economic uncertainty, a few luxury brands still thrive. LVMH (owner of Louis Vuitton), Dior, Tiffany’s, etc. continue to see profits rise, according to WSJ, and Hermes—one of the few privately held luxury brands—keeps topping its own sales records, and expects to raise prices soon. Hmm… Will women still pay more than ten thousand dollars for a Birkin bag? It seems they will.

If the mogul does take the money and run—what will be next for the talented Mr. Ford? Now that’s he’s stepped down from his three-year reign as chairman of the CFDA, Hollywood tongues are wagging that Ford will devote full-time energy to writing, directing and producing films. After all, he already lives in Los Angeles and is repped by CAA.

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