Fashion: Man in black

Adored from Milan to Hollywood, Tom Ford is the designer who put the glamour back into Gucci

No 1: Tom Ford

Age: 37

Nationality: American, born Texas.

Profession: Designer in chief, Gucci. God.

Appearance: Modern-day matinee idol. Tall, tanned; impeccably groomed; designer stubble.

Dress code: Big collars. Big cuffs. Mr Monochrome: the famously all-black wardrobe is now brightened up by a flash of radical, er, white.

Claim to fashion fame: Superstar designer who turned Gucci, one-time maker of uninspiring monogrammed leather goods, into the most coveted fashion label on the planet with a global turnover of $2.2bn.

How come? By anticipating, some say instigating, global trends - every one a winner, from languid Seventies siren dresses and hard-edged Eighties shoulder-padded suits to the rebirth of Sixties tropicana prints and the Summer of Love.

So, he just spins out the hits from past decades? No, if it were that easy we'd all have creative directorships under our skinny snakeskin belts. The trick is to reinvent the past, not plagiarise it, thank you. Every season has the Tom Ford stamp, not the linked G's but the triple S's: Sex, Seduction, Sales.

What's next on Ford's hit list? Super-slick metropolitan glamour-puss in leopard print (real!) fur meets not-so-discerning disco queen in flared black lace trousers and pink ruched velvet boots.

Bound to be another winner? Oh yes. Suffice to say, what Ford says - even if it is pink ruched velvet boots - goes. Join the waiting list.

Fans? The stars, Helen Hunt (Oscars), Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow (premieres), Madonna (in that interview with Johnny Vaughan); the GIT's (Gucci It Girls), Meg Mathews, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Posh Spice. Plus every self-confessed fashion addict.

Hasn't Ford recently moved the Gucci design studio from Milan to London? Yep. He prefers speaking English to Italian; a Big Mac meal to a risotto al funghi; and he's not so far away from John, his long-haired fox terrier who lives in Paris, presumably in a plush Gucci leather dog basket.

Best friend: His dog, John.

Best-kept secret: Very impressive chest hair, plus John's frequent flyer card (Air France.)

Motto: Don't mess with Texas or, you can always rely on a Ford

must-haves

Ultimate ...

We've had girl power, now we're heading for purr power, courtesy of most fashionable pet lover, Tom Ford. But why give this to your old mog, when you can wear it yourself, around the wrist that is. Cat collar, pounds 55, by Gucci, enquiries 0171-235 6707.

Basic ...

The most covetable plimsoll this summer is pure Americana. Do try Ivy League-chic with washed-out jeans; don't try the cheerleader look - bobby socks are not an option.

Converse trainers, pounds 27.99, at Office, enquiries 01372 731 343.

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