The glitterati gushed as Tom Ford ushered out his final Gucci collection earlier this year. (He resigned from Gucci Group in April.) But when fashionistas look back on Ford's 10 years at the creative helm of the House of Gucci, his legacy won't simply be his clothes and their uncanny embodiment of emotion. Rather, Ford's pi??ce de resistance will probably be his elevation of the designer from a creative-class citizen to a celebrified auteur who dominates every aspect of the business. Ford presided over product design, communications strategies, fragrances, store decor—and details as small as the color of cellophane on a perfume box. In effect, he redesigned Gucci itself, and led it on a rags-to-riches journey from near-bankrupt also-ran to an icon of high-fashion glamour. When the Texan took his bow on that Milan runway, the fashion industry was left to wonder, Who's bigger—the designer or the brand?
- Peak Performers: Four masters who are leading the world of design
- Impact Players: Four high-impact projects that shaped the year in design—and the people who launched them
- William McDonough, Principal and founder, William McDonough + Partners
- Tom Ford , Former Creative Director, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent
- Jonathan Ive, Vice President of Industrial Design, Apple Computer Inc.
- Marcia Lausen, Founding member, AIGA Design for Democracy
- Game Changers: The risk takers and agitators who are rewriting the rules
- Collaborators: Champions who help make great design happen
- Robyn Waters, Founder and president of RW Trend, LLC
- Kun-Hee Lee, Chairman and CEO, Samsung electronics
- Sam Farber, Founder, Copco, OXO, and Wovo
- Bob Porter, Executive Vice President, SSM Health Care
- Next Generation: Meet four rising stars who are charting the future
- A Jury of Their Peers
- Introducing 11 jurors—top leaders from universities, cultural institutions, and business—who helped us select our 20 Masters of Design.
- Lessons From the Masters
- These five ideas will help you incorporate design principles in your work — and better connect with customers and colleagues.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2004 issue of Fast Company