Friday, October 23, 2009
I HEART TOM FORD!
TOKYO — Tom Ford is getting ready for his return to women’s wear — the only question now is when.
The designer, and now film director, finally acknowledged on the record he’s returning to the women’s arena and confirmed he and his longtime business partner and Tom Ford International chairman Domenico De Sole are on the hunt for financing.
Ford, in town to promote his new film, “A Single Man,” and make a personal appearance at his new men’s shop in the Isetan department store, said he plans to launch the Tom Ford brand’s first women’s collection “very soon,” although he declined to specify a date. Sources told WWD earlier this month that, depending on financing, Ford was eyeing a launch of a women’s line as early as fall 2010.
“Financing is extremely expensive right now, so if we find financing in the right situation we’ll be able to start [a women’s collection] soon. If we don’t, we may have to wait a while,” Gucci’s former creative director told WWD in an interview from a 50th floor suite of the Park Hyatt Hotel with an expansive view of the city skyline.
“You know it will take me 18 months when I start, because [I have] to hire the team, find the factories, put everything together and then get the stores ready so there’s a place for these clothes,” said Ford as he sipped a Coke Zero to overcome his jet lag.
Recent reports estimate Ford and De Sole are seeking $50 million or more to fund a women’s collection and that Credit Suisse is leading the process. De Sole, who is also in Tokyo, declined to discuss the financials of the privately held company except to state that Ford’s stores in Osaka, Tokyo and Seoul are performing strongly.
“We have the advantage of being a younger brand that’s in a growing mode,” De Sole said.
Ford contended his men’s wear label is outpacing most of its competitors in the recession and he’s optimistic the luxury goods market is on its way to recovery.
“Things are getting better every day in most places,” Ford said, clad in a black suit and a white shirt. “So I’m optimistic and this is something that I plan on doing for the next 30 years of my life, so if I have to wait another six months or a year [to launch women’s], it’s OK.”
In the meantime, Ford is holding court with his fans here in Tokyo. On Tuesday evening, he made quite an entrance at Isetan, turning up in a black Mercedes and posing as a crowd snapped photos of him with their cell phones. He then made his way upstairs to his recently opened shop-in-shop, where he autographed boxes of his fragrance.
The Isetan shop-in-shop, which opened in September, is Ford’s first store in Tokyo and his second in Japan. The designer said he hopes to open a freestanding store in Tokyo as soon as he finds a suitable location.