Michael Kors was born in 1959 in Long Island, New York. He first became interested in fashion as a young boy, when his model mother took him on shopping sprees. His mother always encouraged her young son to pursue his interest in fashion. He attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City where he studied fashion design.
Michael Kors began his career in fashion at age 19, when he began designing and merchandising a collection for the popular New York City boutique, Lothar’s. This line caught the attention of the fashion press, and Kors decided it was time to strike out on his own. In 1981, at the young age of 22, Kors launched the Michael Kors label and started a women’s collection. The line was sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. His vision for the collection was chic, luxurious American sportswear.
In 1997, Michael Kors became the designer for the ready-to-wear collection for Parisian fashion house, Celine. In February 1999, he was also named Creative Director of Celine.
In 2002, Kors branched out and started his first menswear collection. This was followed two years later by the MICHAEL by Michael Kors line. This collection for men and women offers the style and quality of Michael Kors clothing, but without the steep price tag. It is sold at department stores across the country, such as Dillards, Famous Barr, Boston Store, and Macy’s.
Michael Kors has said this about the woman that he designs for, “She is a woman of any age, any nationality, and who is fashion-conscious without being a fashion victim.” Some notable celebrities who have worn Michael Kors include Jennifer Lopez, Charlize Theron, Pierce Brosnan, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Madonna.
Michael Kors has also received numerous awards within the fashion community. In July 1996, Vogue called him one of the “most influential designers of the decade.” New York magazine honored him with the New York Award, given to ten people who epitomize the spirit of the city. In 1999, Kors received the most prestigious fashion award, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Award for Womenswear Designer of the Year. He followed it up in 2003, with the CFDA Menswear Award. He also has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Lighthouse International.
Currently, Michael Kors is involved in numerous projects. He continues to design his Michael Kors, MICHAEL by Michael Kors, and Celine Ready-to-wear lines. He also has been a judge on the Bravo! hit television show, Project Runway, since its inception. Kors also serves on the Board of Directors for the CFDA and is Executive Vice President.
Michael Kors, who resides in New York City, is openly gay and is an active supporter of gay rights.