Lady Gaga and Adam Driver’s new film House of Gucci is out in theaters now, and it charts the history of the eponymous fashion house as well as the murder of Maurizio Gucci (played by Driver).

One person who features in the film and was influential in the survival of the brand is Tom Ford (played by Reeve Carney).

Gucci was struggling financially under Maurizio’s stewardship: the company lost over $22 million in 1993 according to a report from Forbes in 1999.

Maurizio was chairman of the company from 1989 to 1993, at which point he sold his shares of the company to Investcorp for $170 million, and it is thanks to Ford and Gucci Group CEO Domenico del Sol that the brand survived.

How did Tom Ford transform Gucci?

Ford was hired by the fashion house in 1990 to overhaul the brand’s image and help it step away from the leather goods and scarves it was known for.

When he first joined Gucci, the Texas-born Ford worked as the brand’s chief designer for women’s ready-to-wear collections.

Six months after joining the company he began to design menswear and he started working on shoes shortly thereafter.

In 1992, Ford took over Richard Lambertson’s position as design director, and worked on Gucci’s designs for several collections, including ready-to-wear and fragrances. He also worked on the brand’s store designs.

Ford became Gucci’s Creative Director in 1994, following Maurizio’s departure from the company, and it was during his tenure in this position that he turned the brand around completely from a has-been to a must-have.

Ford transformed the company with the introduction of items like velvet trousers, stylish dresses, sleek suits, and a whole range of boots and bags.

In 1995, Gucci Group earned an impressive $83 million with revenues of $500 million, and this continued to grow in 1997 as revenues reached $975 million, Forbes reported.

Why did Tom Ford leave Gucci?

Ford worked under Gucci for 14 years and left the brand in 2004, and in an interview with trade journal Women Wear Daily at the time Ford adamantly denied he’d left over his salary at the company.

Explaining his departure, he said: “Money had absolutely nothing to do with it at all. It really was a question of control.”

After leaving Gucci, Ford went on to found his own brand, which he named after himself, and the likes of First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, and Daniel Craig have worn outfits from his fashion label.

Ford has also directed two films, A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals, both of which received Academy Awards nominations.

A Single Man saw Colin Firth be nominated for Best Actor, and Michael Shannon earned a nod in the Best Supporting Actor category for Nocturnal Animals.

House of Gucci is in theaters now.

Tom Ford on the catwalk at the end of his last Gucci Autumn/Winter 2004-2005 women’ collection during Milan fashion week 25 February 2004.
PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP via Getty Images

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