Michael Kors began designing clothes at the age of 19 and studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. In 1981, Kors launched the Michael Kors womenswear line at Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Building on his success, Kors was named the first ever women’s ready-to-wear designer and creative director for the French fashion house Celine in 1997. In his tenure at Celine, Kors turned the fashion house around with blockbuster 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. This year, Michael Kors celebrates 30 years in business.
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.