By and  on June 11, 2007

MILAN — Tom Ford doesn't do small.

Two months after the debut of his high-end men's line and stand-alone flagship in Manhattan, the entrepreneurial designer is ready to take his brand global.

Ford and his business partner, Domenico De Sole, said last week that they have inked a series of strategic agreements with both franchise and wholesale partners that will allow the duo to expand the Tom Ford brand in key cities starting in the spring. The expansion plan confirms a story in last week's WWD.

Maintaining its original mandate, the Tom Ford men's line will retail exclusively in the Madison Avenue boutique for the first year. Starting next spring, the designer label will embark on a focused rollout in the U.S. and abroad through a multitiered plan that calls for both franchised and directly operated stores as well as exclusive shop-in-shops.

The list of partners includes Lane Crawford Joyce Group for Asia, Villa Moda and UAE Trading in the Middle East, Mercury in Russia, Harrods in London and the Neiman Marcus Group in the U.S. Other partners include Trois Pommes in Switzerland and Daslu in Brazil.

"This is a great day for us as we have now laid the foundation necessary to become a true global luxury brand," said Ford, president and chief executive officer. "The plan will allow us the platform needed to reach and service our customers worldwide."

Set within a 10-year time frame, the plan when completed will create 100 freestanding Tom Ford stores and many shop-in-shops. A significant amount of the global distribution will begin next year with the opening of a directly operated flagship in Milan, as well as franchised stores in Moscow; Zurich; Saint Moritz, Switzerland; Hong Kong; Beijing; Kuwait; Dubai, and Qatar.

In the U.S., Ford's brand of fashionable, luxury tailored clothing and indulgent accoutrements like velvet embroidered slippers will be available in a shop-in-shop in Bergdorf Goodman as well as select Neiman Marcus stores starting in the spring.

Senior Bergdorf brass, including ceo Jim Gold, were among the first retailers invited to view the collection and take in the concept when Ford opened the doors to his two-level New York store in April.

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