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?
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