After a final collection, Tom Ford’s next chapter

Having shown a final collection for his eponymous brand, Tom Ford is set to leave fashion and focus on film. Meanwhile, Peter Hawkings, a longtime designer for the brand, will take the helm

Models wearing Tom Ford in Glass box
Tom Ford A/W 2023, the designer’s final collection for his eponymous brand
(Image credit: Photography by Steven Klein, courtesy of Tom Ford)

Earlier this week, American designer Tom Ford – who rose to fame with a successful stint at Gucci in the 1990s – showed his final collection for the eponymous brand he founded in 2005. 

Made up of archival pieces from the close to two decades he has spent honing his signature – a sensual, confident glamour – it was released in a film shot by longtime collaborator Steven Klein, starring a phalanx of Tom Ford muses, from Amber Valletta and Karen Elson to Caroline Trentini and Karlie Kloss. 

Pieces spanned his career and featured hallmark motifs: sliced-away mini dresses, constellations of sequins, plunging necklines, animal print and sharp, 1970s-tinged tailoring. The film ends with the models all in black, as if in mourning.

Tom Ford shows final collection

His exit comes in the wake of a $2.8 billion sale of the business to Estée Lauder in November 2022, in part due to Tom Ford’s highly successful cosmetic and fragrance arm. ‘Estée Lauder Companies is the ideal home for the brand. They have been an extraordinary partner from the first day of my creation of the company, and I am thrilled to see them become the luxury stewards in this next chapter,’ he said at the time of the deal, which purportedly made the designer a personal billionaire.

Yesterday, the brand announced a new executive leadership team as the deal was finalised and Estée Lauder became the sole owner. Guillaume Jesel became president and CEO while Peter Hawkings took over Ford’s role as creative director of the brand. A longtime fixture at the house – previously he was senior vice president of Tom Ford menswear – Hawkings has worked alongside Ford for over 25 years. A portrait released of Hawkings depicts him in a pair of black-framed tinted sunglasses and a black suit – an homage to Ford’s perennial uniform.

‘In Peter Hawkings the brand has found the perfect creative director,’ Ford said in a statement. ‘Since the creation of Tom Ford menswear, Peter has been instrumental in the success of the brand. He is an incredibly talented leader with tremendous industry experience, and his appointment gives me confidence that my commitment to creating fashion products with the highest level of design and quality will continue.’

Peter Hawkings portrait

Peter Hawkings, Tom Ford’s new creative director

(Image credit: Photography by Ferry van der Nat)

In a separate statement, Ford also revealed his own post-fashion plans, saying that he will be returning to film with production company Fade to Black. Both 2009’s A Single Man and 2016’s Nocturnal Animals, which Ford wrote and directed, were produced by the company. ‘Following the sale of the Tom Ford brand, [he will] concentrate on film projects in development via his production company,’ it read.

Texas-born Ford began working at Gucci in 1990, having previously worked for Chloé in Paris (he took a year off his studies at NYU for the role) and American sportswear designer Cathy Hardwick. He rose quickly in the Italian house, becoming creative director in 1994 and transforming the then-ailing fashion house with sexually charged collections which captured the zeitgeist (perhaps one of his most memorable pieces was a thong with a double-G metal clasp). Matched with an impeccable eye for cut and silhouette, they remain some of contemporary fashion’s most influential – and continually referenced – collections. The first issue of Wallpaper* featured two models wearing his designs for the house.

When he left, in 2004, sales had risen 1,200 per cent to nearly $3 billion dollars. Ford started his eponymous label the year after and opened his first store in 2007. He leaves fashion as one of its most influential – and widely-recognised – names.

Cover of Wallpaper*

The first cover of Wallpaper* featuring Tom Ford’s designs for Gucci

(Image credit: Wallpaper* October 1996)
Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.