The event changed the fashion business forever. Arnault increased his pace, snatching up one hot young designer after another to turn around LVMH's various labels. He brought in Marc Jacobs to revamp Louis Vuitton, John Galliano to revive Givenchy and then Dior, Narciso Rodriguez for Loewe, and Michael Kors for Celine. Ford and De Sole, meanwhile, stacked their company with a number of fashion brands, including Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. By 2000, a major part of the fashion business, with a few notable exceptions (Ralph Lauren, Armani, and Versace), were divided between two global, luxury behemoths. The money had never been bigger, the stakes never so high. Last October, the man who started it all stunned the fashion world when he announced that he and De Sole were leaving Gucci, after a contractual agreement with PPR could not be reached. The details have been the source of much speculation. I had dinner with him in London the night before the announcement. Most people in his position would have focused the whole table on themselves for the evening. Tom simply told us what had happened and then went on with the dinner.
He mentioned the movies that night as a possible second act. And, indeed, he has a pretty decent starter kit to get into the business a spare, glamorous Richard Neutra house high in the hills of Bel-Air; and a Rolodex bulging with names of film industry mandarins. I suggested at dinner that he make a few small films and do them quietly. He looked at me as if I had my shoes on the wrong feet. Tom thinks big. He thought big in fashion. Gucci wasn't about clothes, remember, it was about a life. And if he makes a film, I suspect it will be a big, innovative Hollywood picture. As the following pages amply demonstrate, he has an exquisite sensibility not just for clothes, but also for art, design, and architecture. Many in Hollywood already understand this. His list of friends and admirers there is legion. And Hollywood being the town it is, the sexy factor shouldn't hurt either.
Excerpted from "Tom Ford," Rizzoli International Publications, copyright 2004