Estée Lauder is reportedly in talks to acquire Tom Ford, a move that would mark the beauty conglomerate's first foray into luxury fashion.
The global cosmetics company already holds the license to Tom Ford Beauty, a fragrance and makeup line that Ford developed in partnership with the group and launched in 2011. If the sale were to go through, Estée Lauder would not only helm Tom Ford's beauty division, but also the brand's apparel and accessories business.
As Business of Fashion noted, Estée Lauder would likely license the production and sale of said apparel and accessories to other companies — a move that could dilute the brand.
The development of Tom Ford Beauty under Estée Lauder is more clear-cut. Beloved for its high-end fragrance, the imprint has plenty of room to expand the category, as well as its limited range of skincare, bodycare, and grooming products. In addition, the brand has yet to launch haircare.
The news may signal a pivot for Estée Lauder, which has historically acquired beauty-first brands such as La Mer, Le Labo, and MAC Cosmetics. By stepping into fashion with a rumored $3 billion acquisition — its biggest to date — could the company be angling to compete with Kering and LVMH?
Speculation that Tom Ford was on the market first surfaced in July, when the brand hired Goldman Sachs to explore a sale. Neither Ford nor Estée Lauder have commented on the possibility of an acquisition.
In January 2022, Ford canceled his Fall/Winter 2022 runway show at New York Fashion Week due to COVID-related production delays. The designer is slated to reclaim his spot at NYFW next month, closing out the affair on September 14.
If the sale goes through before then? Ford will certainly be the talk of the town.