One of the most illustrious male style icons the world of fashion has ever had the pleasure of producing, Tom Ford is comfortably the authority on what a gent should wear and when he should wear it. Whether it’s his earlier work with Gucci, his work for his eponymous brand, or his style-orientated one liners that litter most self-respecting fashion blogs, the impact of his sartorial genius can be found in most well put together wardrobes.
As we’ve just added a whole load of Tom Ford sunglasses to our shelves, we thought we’d take a look at the man behind the brand and get to know how he came to be the icon that he is today. But rather than just picking out career highlights, we thought we’d also have a guess at which of his timeless frame designs he’d have been happy wearing at the time. Here’s Tom Ford through Tom Ford...
THE DISCO YEARS (1979 - 1980)
The Tom Ford story starts in a club in New York in 1979. The incessant arpeggios of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ are pumping out the sound system, Andy Warhol is lingering somewhere in the shadows, and the dress code is strictly evening wear; welcome to Studio 54. Having just moved to New York to study art history at NYU, an 18 year old Tom has become distracted by a soundtrack of pounding disco and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Whilst he might be failing in college, he’s falling head over heals with the world of fashion and discovering himself in the process.
What better way to party in the century’s most exclusive club than in a pair of these king-sized Dominic Gold Square Aviators. Inspired by the classic Aviator frame style, these glasses feature the iconic double bridge and are completed in luxurious gold-style wiring. If any glasses are a match for Tom’s tux back in ‘79, we’re pretty sure it would be these.
THE HOLLYWOOD YEARS (1981 - 1984)
All night discos and bachelor's degrees don’t mix quite as well as bourbon and sweet vermouth, so it didn’t take long for Mr Ford to be booted out of his coveted place at NYU. He’s now headed west to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting and, whilst he hasn’t managed to pick up any roles in major features, he has become a popular choice for national advertising campaigns and is making a pretty penny as a result.
If you’re rubbing shoulders with the brightest and best in La La Land, you need to look better than just good, especially if you’re a mere advertising actor. These Franklin acetate frames make you look the part even when you’re not getting them. If Tom was on his way to an audition circa 1983, we think he would have been pretty happy turning up in a pair of these.
LES ANNÉES PARISIENNES (1987 - 1988)
After a couple of years acting, Tom was drawn once again to education. With two years studying Architecture at the Parson’s School of Design in New York behind him, he’s now at the college’s Paris campus. Bored of architecture, he’s looking for work in fashion despite having absolutely no experience. Obsessively dedicated, he's phoning sportswear designer, Cathy Hardwick everyday to try and score an internship.
An American in Paris needs to work doubly hard to meet the style standards set on the continent. These round, black Lucho frames have the making of a timeless classic and would have looked just as good walking down Rue de Passy in 80s Paris as they do anywhere today.
THE GUCCI YEARS (1990 - 2004)
After a stint at Cathy Hardwick and another at Perry Ellis, Tom grew tired of American style and wanted to work with a company a little more European. Now in Milan as creative director at Gucci, he’s worked for the failing Italian luxury fashion brand since 1990. Far from discrediting himself as a designer, the move has meant he’s actually turning the ill-thought of brand around and, almost single handedly, producing the multi-billion dollar fashion giant that we know today.
The kind of glasses you’d be pleased to wear in one of the world’s fashion capitals, the Aaron frames make a statement whilst still being on the stylish side of understated. Also inspired by the Aviators, these turn a lot of the original design features on their heads, fitting out the frames in Havana acetate and reducing the double bridge to a single top wire.
THE END OF AN ERA YEARS (2004 - 2005)
By 2004, Ford had radically changed the fortunes of the Italian fashion house. As creative director for Gucci he took them from the brink of bankruptcy to being worth over $10 Billion dollars. As well as completely updating their style from tired 90s minimalism to something more timeless, he conceived some of the most effective and shocking advertising campaigns of all time, catapulting the brand from zero to hero.
But Tom’s success at Gucci would ultimately be his downfall at the brand. The now immensely valuable company attracted attention from multinational investors and, whilst they were in the process of conducting a buy-out of the company, Ford’s creative control was limited and, as a result, he decided to pack his bags. Tom was such a big asset to the brand that, when they replaced him, they needed to hire four people to complete the same amount of work. What a grafter.
Modern, sleek, and masterfully executed, these Dimitry frames are best served with some forward looking optimism. Another style inspired by the Aviators, they’re retro in all the right places but touched up with that Tom Ford flair for modernity. When Tom was looking to start the next chapter of his life, we think he’d have been most comfortable wearing a pair of these beauties.
THE TOM FORD YEARS (2005 - )
In 2005, after a short spell of soul searching and heavy drinking, the Tom Ford brand was born. Today, as well as producing both men and women’s wear, the label’s responsible for producing makeup, perfumes and, of course, sunglasses
. Worn by everyone from Michelle Obama to Tom Hanks, and name-checked in songs by Justin Timberlake and Jay Z, the brand and the man aren’t just established as one of the front runners of high-end fashion, they're rightfully chiseled into the pop culture tablet.
Nothing quite says successful career like a pair of dark Wayfarers. A slight twist on the classic frame design, these Leo Acetate Wayfarers are simple but deliver that dose of Tom Ford luxury in the details and build quality. Today, we wouldn’t be surprised if Mr Ford slips on a pair of these after a hard day of directing or designing or looking top dollar.
When we were deciding on which brands to stock in our range of sunglasses, Tom Ford was a no brainer. In terms of quality, he produces the best in the world. In terms of style, his year’s of experience rebuilding some of the world’s biggest brands are inescapably apparent. Want to see more? Take a look at our full range here.