NEW YORK – Tom Ford (search) couldn't stay away.
"I'm inching toward a return to fashion," the designer said Tuesday.
The first project is a partnership with Estee Lauder (search). A small group of beauty products will be in stores by Christmas. Those likely will be items from the archives that Ford will update.
"I want to find a great compact like my mother's that's much more luxurious than we see today," he said. "I want to find a great lipstick color from 1972 — and then I want to put them together." He also has his sights set on Youth Dew, the perfume that his grandmother wore.
In fall 2006, a stand-alone Tom Ford beauty brand will be launched under the Lauder umbrella, with a fragrance among its offerings.
Ford separately announced a partnership with the Marcolin Group, a manufacturer of licensed eyewear.
However, before he signed any deal, Ford told The Associated Press, he consulted with his agent at Creative Artists Agency.
Since he left Gucci, Ford has been pursuing a career in Hollywood and has formed a production company, Fade to Black (search).
"I was worried, 'Will people take me less seriously?' And my agent said every actress and actor wants this deal. Everyone wants to be known by their sense of style."
Ford said he'll split his time between his London design studio and his Los Angeles office.
"We have four projects in development. ... Films are absolutely a top priority, which is why I'm not ready to do ready-to-wear," he said.
A fashion collection, though, is likely to come in the future. Ford warned: "Maybe it's not going to be women's, at least not at first, and maybe it's not going to be runway shows."