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What to Watch: The New Course of Tom Ford Fashion

Eyes will be on the debut of Peter Hawkings as creative director of the brand, licensed to the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, and the newly appointed CEO Lelio Gavazza.


MILAN — Peter Hawkings will unveil his first collection as creative director of the Tom Ford brand on Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. CET during Milan Fashion Week — and it is one of the most awaited debuts this fall.

Hawkings is certainly not new to the label, as he began working with Ford in 1998 as a menswear design assistant at Gucci, going on to become the senior men’s designer at the company. He left Gucci in 2006 to join Ford in the launch of his eponymous brand, where he oversaw the design and production of menswear, eventually adding accessories including eyewear, bags, shoes and jewelry. Most recently, he was senior vice president of Tom Ford menswear.

Ford showed his final women’s collection last April and, upon the appointment that same month, he described Hawkings as “an incredibly talented leader with tremendous industry experience,” which led him to be confident that his own “commitment to creating fashion products with the highest level of design and quality will continue.”

Given his proximity to Ford, observers imagine Hawkings’ first collection will indeed be aligned with the brand’s aesthetic and vision. But clearly a lot is at stake for the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, which is responsible for all of Tom Ford’s fashion business. Fresh off the success of Thom Browne’s first couture show in Paris and closing the first half of the year confirming its 2 billion euro sales target by the end of fiscal 2025, chairman and chief executive officer Gildo Zegna said in July that he is focused on propelling Tom Ford Fashion to stand among the top 10 luxury fashion names in the world.

To help achieve that, Zegna has named Lelio Gavazza to the newly created position of chief executive officer of Tom Ford Fashion, effective Sept. 18. He brings more than 20 years of experience in global luxury, joining from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, where he is currently executive vice president, sales and retail at jeweler Bulgari.

At the time of his appointment in July, Gildo Zegna touted Gavazza’s “world-class business acumen,” his “track record of strong global leadership” and his “outstanding luxury expertise” across retail management, wholesale distribution, marketing, digital and key markets, including China, expressing his confidence that the executive will “prove invaluable” in the development of the fashion brand globally.

Tom Ford and chairman Domenico De Sole will continue to serve as brand advisers through the end of the year.

The Estée Lauder Cos. acquired Tom Ford’s company last November in a deal valued at $2.8 billion. Under Lauder, Ford’s men’s and women’s ready-to-wear is licensed to Zegna, which previously held the license for menswear since around 2006. At Lauder, Guillaume Jesel is Tom Ford’s president and CEO.

With this deal, Zegna, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is venturing into new territory: In addition to Ford’s men’s and women’s rtw, Zegna is now licensed for Ford’s accessories and underwear, fine jewelry, childrenswear, textile and home design products. Zegna Group will be in charge of the end-to-end Tom Ford Fashion business, from collection creation and development to merchandising through to production, as well as retail and wholesale distribution. Marcolin holds the perpetual license for Tom Ford eyewear.

Tom Ford’s fashion operation is expected to create synergies for Zegna, which also owned a 15 percent stake in the company, and will allow it to strengthen its womenswear segment. Gildo Zegna has repeatedly said he was not looking to expand the Zegna brand into womenswear.

As reported, a rebound in China and momentum in the U.S. and Europe helped the Zegna Group report a 23.9 percent growth in revenues to 903 million euros, reflecting the consolidation of Tom Ford International starting from April 29, as well as the consolidation of tannery Pelletteria Tizeta.

In the period from April 29 to June 30, Tom Ford Fashion reported revenues of 64 million euros.


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