By Brandis Ohlsson
Once described as “Fashion’s boldest, most audacious success story ever,” American designer Tom Ford was born in 1962 in Austin, Texas. Having an interest in beauty and fashion from an early age, he touts his grandmother as his first muse, calling her “incredibly stylish” with her big hair and big cars. As a teenager he made the move to New York City, studying architecture at Parson’s School of Design, and has been said to have also dabbled in acting. At some point, Ford realized he much preferred fashion to architecture or acting. At age 29, Ford received his big break; he was asked to become the chief women’s designer at the major high-end design house, Gucci. With this, he was off to Europe.
At the point that Tom Ford began at Gucci, it was a fledgling company by high-end fashion house standards known best for their archaic leather goods. Turning things around for the company and climbing the ranks rather quickly, Tom Ford was appointed Creative Director of Yves Saint Laurent when Gucci bought a controlling stake in 1999. With his first parley in the fragrance game, Ford created a bit of controversy with the advertising campaign for YSL’s M7 cologne, which featured a full frontal nude man. In response to the controversy that followed, Ford replied simply, “Perfume is worn on the skin, so why hide the body?”
In 2005, Tom Ford returned to the United States and announced the launch of the Tom Ford Brand, and in 2006 he introduced Tom Ford Signature Fragrances. The men’s portfolio of fragrances currently includes six fragrances, Black Orchid, Grey Vetiver, Extreme, White Patchouli, and his newest endeavor for men, Noir. All of Ford’s fragrances can be considered modern classics with seductive and intriguing qualities. The designer himself has said that he is inspired by the history of perfumery when the most suburb ingredients were used to create timeless scents that had a lasting impact.
May 2015 brings us the Tom Ford Noir Extreme, which brings us a new Tom Ford fragrance campaign. This campaign Ford didn’t have to look far to find his star- he cast himself. (No, he’s not full frontal) Ford has appeared in his own campaigns before. He sniffed at Lara Stone’s face for Tom Ford Beauty Fall 2011, and in fall 2012 with Snejana Onopka for the Beauty campaign. One Noir Extreme review calls it a “fragrance for the man who dares to be extraordinary”; who better to market that than the designer himself? A very handsome man with what has been nothing short of remarkable. He couldn’t have found a better model if he tried.