Domenico De Sole is chairman of Tom Ford International, the menswear brand that now includes beauty, accessories, fragrance and footwear. He is a lawyer by training, but made the transition to the fashion business when Gucci — one of his clients — hired him to join the company. That was in 1984. Over the next 20 years until his departure from Gucci in 2004, he engineered a remarkable turnaround, saving the company from hostile suitors and acquiring such key brands as Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. Indeed, in the fashion world, the standard phrase for managing a successful turnaround has become “doing a Gucci.” Knowledge@Wharton asked De Sole for his perspective on the fashion business in a down economy, the consumer mentality, leadership and other topics.
(Video Published in 2009)