Photo: Ed Kavishe, Fashion Wire Press
|Born||Karl Anderson, Jr.
August 9, 1959
Long Island, New York, United States
|Education||Fashion Institute of Technology,New York City|
|Net worth||US$1.0 billion (February 2014)|
|Spouse(s)||Lance LePere (since 2011)|
1999 CFDA award forwomenswear designer of the year2003 CFDA award for mensweardesigner of the year
Michael Kors (born Karl Anderson, Jr.; August 9, 1959) is a New York City-based fashion designer widely known for designing classic American sportswear for women. He is Honorary Chairman and Chief Creative Officer for his company, Michael Kors Holdings Limited (KORS).
Kors was born Karl Anderson, Jr. in Long Island, New York, the son of Joan Kors (née Hamburger), a former model, and her first husband, Karl Anderson, a college student. His mother got remarried to Bill Kors when he was five, and his surname was changed to Kors. His mother told him that he could choose a new first name as well; subsequently he renamed himself Michael David Kors. He grew up in Merrick, New York and graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, New York. Kors' mother is Jewish and his father was of Swedish descent. Kors married his partner, Lance LePere, on August 16, 2011.
Kors had an affinity for fashion since he was very young. His mother thought it might have had to something to do with the fact that he was exposed to the apparel industry through her modeling career. Michael even designed his mothers wedding dress for her second marriage at the age of five. As a teen, Kors began designing clothes and selling them out of his parents' basement, which he renamed the Iron Butterfly. In 1977, he enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. However, he dropped out after only nine months and took a job at a boutique across from Bergdorf Goodman on 57th Street, where he was given a small space to sell his designs. Shortly after, Dawn Mello, the fashion director at Bergdorf, discovered Kors. She asked if he would show his collection to Bergdorf Goodman's buyers and he has had his collection ever since. In 1981, Kors launched the Michael Kors womenswear line at Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. A bankruptcy in 1993 forced him to discontinue the Kors line for a time. He managed to get back on his feet by 1997 and launched a lower priced line and at the same time was named the first-ever women’s ready-to-wear designer for French house Celine. In his tenure at Celine, Kors turned the fashion house around with successful accessories and a critically acclaimed ready-to-wear line. Kors left Celine in October 2003 to concentrate on his own brand. Kors launched his menswear line in 2002.
In addition to the Michael Kors runway collection, the MICHAEL Michael Kors and KORS Michael Kors lines were launched in 2004. KORS is considered the mid-tier line, between the runway and MICHAEL collections. The MICHAEL line includes women's handbags and shoes as well as women's ready-to-wear apparel. The KORS line contains footwear and Jeans. Currently, Kors has full collection boutiques in New York, Beverly Hills, Palm Beach, Manhasset, and Chicago. 2011 marked Kors' thirtieth year in business.
Among the celebrities who have worn Kors' designs are Jennifer Lopez, Rachel McAdams, Elissa, Heidi Klum, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Michelle Obama wore his black sleeveless dress in her first term official portrait as First Lady. Joan Allen wore his gown when she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the The Contender. Jennifer Garner wore a custom creation as an Academy Award presenter in 2006. As creative director of Celine, Kors designed many outfits for actresses to wear on screen, including Gwyneth Paltrow in Possession; and Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair. One of his gowns was worn by Alicia Keys for her performance at Barack Obama's inaugural ball on January 21, 2013.
The ad campaigns for Kors often reflect the jet-set sportswear that Kors fans are fond of. Previous campaigns include the model Carmen Kass on the tarmac of an airport, on a safari in Africa, and relaxing on a yacht.
Kors was a judge on the Emmy-nominated reality television program Project Runway, which aired on Bravo for five seasons; subsequent seasons aired on Lifetime. On December 18, 2012, it was announced that Kors would be leaving Project Runway, to be replaced by fellow designer Zac Posen.
In January, 2014 Forbes reported that Kors now has a personal fortune in excess of $1 Billion, making him the latest fashion industry billionaire. Michael Kors Holdings had already “minted two billionaires”: Silas Chou and Lawrence Stroll.
In 2013, Kors was selected for The Time 100, the magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. He also made the New York Observer's list of the 100 Most Influential New Yorkers, under the fashion category. In October 2012 Kors was honored with the Golden Heart Lifetime Achievement Award by God's Love We Deliver, a non-profit organization that distributes fresh meals to people living with HIV/AIDS and other diagnoses, which he has been involved with for over 20 years. In 2010, Kors received the Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research, an annual honor bestowed by the Cancer Research Institute, a U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing immune system-based treatments for cancer. He received the honor at a black-tie ceremony held June 16, 2010 at The Mandarin Oriental in New York City. In June 2010, Kors was the youngest recipient ever of the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the CFDA and received the Fragrance Foundation’s FiFi Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2007, Kors was honored as Designer of the Year atMarymount University's Portfolio in Motion fashion show.
In January 2009, the estate of the artist-designer Tony Duquette sued Kors for trademark infringement after Kors allegedly used Duquette's name and images in promoting Kors' 2009 resortwear collection.
Kors in popular culture
Kors was referenced in the film The Devil Wears Prada by Meryl Streep's character, Miranda Priestly. In the scene, Priestly sweeps into her office and gives a list of instructions to her personal assistant (Emily Blunt). Priestly says, "RSVP 'yes' to Michael Kors' party and I want the driver to drop me off at 9:30 and pick me up at 9:45 sharp". Kors is also mentioned in the song Dance a$$ by Big Sean. Additionally, Kors, guest starred as himself in a Fashion Week themed episode of the hit teen show Gossip Girl; the same show that repeatedly showcases several pieces from his collections.