US cosmetics giant Estee Lauder has signed style maker Tom Ford to launch his own brand of beauty products.

The high profile partnership will revamp Lauder's staid image and bring it more youth appeal. It will also give Ford a platform following his departure as creative director of the Gucci fashion label last year.

Ford was responsible for a remarkable reversal of fortune at both Gucci and before that at Yves Saint Laurent through his sexy collections and provocative ad campaigns.

However, the venerable Estee Lauder company is quick to point out Ford has been recruited for his style perspective, not for shock value.

Says Aerin Lauder, svp of global creative directions: "Tom Ford instinctively knows what consumers want and how to communicate a strong, style-driven image. I'm excited to work closely with him to bring his viewpoint into the world of beauty."

Comments Annette McEvoy, a New York-based retail and consumer consultant: "He'll be bringing some edge to their look. That's what they need."

The Ford branded range of fragrances and related products will go on sale late 2006.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff