If you've revived one of the biggest and best-known fashion houses in the world by evoking a lost sexiness and revamping their advertising image, then went onto create your own successful fashion line while taking time out to guest edit big name glossies like Vanity Fair, what else would there be for you to do? How about take over Hollywood? That's exactly what Tom Ford, the wunderkind designer who brought Gucci back from the dead is attempting to do. Sort of.

His directorial debut is not a blockbuster, but rather a small art house film that's been doing well on the festival circuit. That movie, A Single Man, which stars Julianne Moore and Colin Firth, opens today, so before a friend of yours tries to tell you how dope it is and how much of a genius the director is, read our primer on Tom Ford and act like you've known about him for years...

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DESIGNER, PERRY ELLIS (1988)
• After graduating from The New School with a degree in architecture, Ford bags a gig at Perry Ellis where he works under the labels head designer, the future fashion superstar, Marc Jacobs. After two years on the job, Tom bounces to Europe, stating that "If I was ever going to become a good designer, I had to leave America. My own culture was inhibiting me. Too much style in America is tacky. It's looked down upon to be too stylish. Europeans, however, appreciate style." Ouch. Although, doesn't learning that MJ and TF designed there make you wonder, what the hell happened to Perry Ellis?

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CREATIVE DIRECTOR, GUCCI (1994)
• There was a period of time when Gucci wasn't the most adored European fashion house. To remedy that, creative director Dawn Mello hired a young Tom Ford to be the head of their ready-to-wear womens line. From there he went on to design their menswear line, then their footwear, then took control of their fragrances, advertising and store design. He was basically in charge of everything creative at Gucci. To make it official, he was promoted to creative director in 1994 and proceeded to bring the sexy back to Gucci. A big sign of his arrival came when Madonna was spotted rocking an all Gucci wardrobe at the MTV Video Music Awards.

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WON HIS FIRST COUNCIL OF FASHION DESIGNERS OF AMERICA AWARD (1995)
• For giving Gucci an entirely new look, Ford was given on the most prestigious fashion awards in the world: A CFDA International award. It was his first, but as you can imagine, it wasn't dudes last. He racked up three more for Womenswear Designer of the Year (2001), Accessory Designer of the Year Award (2002) and Menswear Designer of the Year (2008). He's kinda, sorta like a big deal.

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CREATIVE DIRECTOR, YVES SAINT LAURENT (2000)
• Around this time, Tom Ford had the midas touch. When Gucci bought Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford was made the creative director of that brand as well. And in his usual fashion he killed it. Under his reign, he brought a simple elegance to the brand, coating everything in black and white. Remember those awards we told you he won? Most of them, including Accessory Designer of the Year Award were won while he was at the helm of YSL.

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TOM FORD EYEWEAR (2004)
• After 10 years of helping Gucci grow from a nearly bankrupt fashion house to billion dollar one, Tom left to launch his own fashion brand, the eponymous Tom Ford line. Like the man himself, the designs were sophisticated and edgy. When he first stepped out, he planned on focusing solely on accessories and in doing so saw his eyewear line, which was done in conjunction with Marcolin SPA, become a runaway success.

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TOM FORD MENSWEAR (2006)
• His eyewear line was dope, but his menswear line is amazing. Just ask Brad Pitt.

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OPENS NYC FLAGSHIP STORE (2007)
• Tom opens his first brick and mortar shop on Madison Ave in NYC. This month we got word that he's opening a second stateside store in Sin City as part of Crystal's shopping center which will anchor the new $11 billion Las Vegas City Center. We're surprised he didn't open his first store in Vegas.

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GUEST ART DIRECTOR, VANITY FAIR (2006)
• When Rachel McAdams dropped out of the cover shoot, Tom Ford decided throw himself on the cover Vanity Fair. How was he able to do that? Well, he was the guest art director for the rag's annual Hollywood issue.

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COSTUME DESIGNER, The Letter (2009)
• For the premiere of The Letter, Tom lends a hand by designing the costumes for the opera that ran six times at the Sante Fe Opera.

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DIRECTOR, A SINGLE MAN (2009)
• If you've learned nothing about Tom Ford, remember this: the guy basically does what he wants and usually kills it when he does. His first directorial effort, the artsy drama A Single Man, based on the Christopher Isherwood novel, premiered at the 66th Venice International Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Lion award.

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