After selling his brand to Estée Lauder last November, American fashion designer Tom Ford is retiring from the eponymous brand he co-founded in 2005. While Guillaume Jesel becomes chief executive and president, Ford’s longtime associate Peter Hawkings is set to succeed him as creative director.

Guillaume Jesel, Peter Hawkings, Tom Ford
Guillaume Jesel and Peter Hawkings | Credit: Courtesy of ESTÉE LAUDER

According to Estée Lauder, the beauty conglomerate’s agreement in 2022 to buy Tom Ford for $US2.8 billion (£2.2 billion). The deal will fully integrate Tom Ford brands, which already has an ongoing partnership with the cosmetic and skincare giant. In fact, the two companies have a relationship spanning over fifteen years, since launching the Tom Ford Beauty brand together in 2006.

Tom Ford, a Creative Visionary

In terms of products, Tom Ford currently includes a lucrative beauty line, a successful fashion line and an eyewear business through a licensing agreement with the Italian group Marcolin. While Estée Lauder is now responsible for Tom Ford’s cosmetic and fragrance business, the Italian menswear group Ermenegildo Zegna is handling all men’s and women’s fashion; as well as accessories, underwear, and eyewear.

In the meantime, Estée Lauder mentioned that Ford would remain as the brand’s ‘creative visionary’ until the end of 2023.

Tom Ford’s final collection, titled “Swan Song” | Credit: The New York Times

However, in a surprise move last week, Ford put out a final collection featuring the 90s supermodel aesthetic. It includes Amber Valletta, wearing archive designs from the past 13 years.

Tom Ford’s Success

Both Jesel and Hawkings have worked with the Tom Ford brand for a while. Prior to his promotion to the flagships brand’s CEO, Jesel was the global president of Tom Ford Beauty for under a decade. Jesel plays an important role at Tom Ford, helping to build it into the major brand it is today. His appointment proves an emphasis on the beauty side of operations at Tom Ford. And this isn’t surprising, considering it is becoming part of Estée Lauder’s diverse portfolio.

Meanwhile, Hawkings worked alongside Ford for almost 25 years, serving as the senior vice president of the brand’s menswear division. Therefore, his new role as creative director of Tom Ford isn’t much of a surprise.

Hawkings’ journey in the fashion industry begins in 1998; initially working under Ford on the menswear collections at Gucci. In 2006, the designer left Gucci to follow Ford to his eponymous brand. This is where he took charge of the label’s menswear categories, a position he has held ever since.

Hawkings’ Role

Peter Hawkings | Credit: 10 Magazine

Hawkings is the brand’s new creative director of womenswear, menswear and accessory categories.

Mentioning Hawking’s contribution, Tom Ford says in a statement:

“Peter began working with me 25 years ago as a menswear design assistant at Gucci and rapidly worked his way up to become the senior men’s designer at the company when he left to join me at the Tom Ford brand”

Ford also shares that:

“Since the creation of Tom Ford menswear, Peter has been instrumental in the success of the brand. He is an incredibly talented leader with tremendous industry experience, and his appointment gives me confidence that my commitment to creating fashion products with the highest level of design and quality will continue”

Following the official release, Jesel and Hawkings “will work together to ensure a consistent and cohesive image across all products, brand communication and retail”.

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