By  on April 20, 2006

MILAN — Tom Ford's luxury empire just got its commercial base.

The American designer and his business partner, Dom­enico De Sole, said last week they had secured a showroom here for the luxury men's label, set to make its debut later this year.

Located in Via Borgonuovo 24, just doors from Giorgio Ar­mani's historic headquarters, the 6,000-square-foot space is scheduled to open in January and will serve as the company's main showroom worldwide.

Last month, Ford signed a licensing deal with Italian men's wear giant Ermenegildo Zegna for the production and distribution of men's wear, accessories and footwear under the Tom Ford name. Launched last April, the Tom Ford brand has also entered into licensing agreements for beauty and eyewear collections with the Estée Lauder Cos. and Marcolin, respectively.

The luxury collection will bow when the designer's first store opens on Madison Avenue in New York in November. Select distribution will begin in 2007 and additional directly operated stores are slated to open in London, Milan, Tokyo and Los Angeles in the next three to four years.

The duo called the Borgon­uovo site, which will also house their company's offices, a kind of homecoming.

"Milan is one of my Euro­pean homes and I am very pleased to once again have a base there," Ford, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Chairman De Sole added: "Maintaining our operational base close to the production facilities is central to business."

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