Michael Kors (born August 9, 1959) is an American fashion designer. "Michael Kors" also refers to his brands of apparel and fragrances.
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Kors was born Karl Anderson, Jr. in Merrick, New York, the son of Joan Hamburger Anderson Kors Krystosek, a former model. Kors's mother is Jewish and he had his Bar Mitzvah. Kors is openly gay. Kors is a judge on the Emmy-nominated reality television program Project Runway, which currently airs on Bravo. He is also a contributor to Harper's Bazaar, most recently interviewing Elizabeth Taylor and Jessica Simpson for the magazine.
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 collection boutiques in New York, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Miami, Natick Collection, Americana Manhasset, Atlanta, SouthPark Mall (Charlotte),Fashion Valley Mall, and South Coast Plaza.
Among the celebrities who have worn Michael Kors' designs are Jennifer Lopez, Elissa, Heidi Klum, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Joan Allen wore his gown when she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the The Contender. In addition, Jennifer Garner wore a custom creation as an Academy Award presenter in 2006. As Creative Director of Celine, Michael Kors designed many outfits for actresses to wear on screen. Gwyneth Paltrow wore Kors' designs in the movie Possession. Cate Blanchett also wore his clothes in the movie Bandits. In addition, he outfitted Rene Russo's character in the 1999 hit remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, Elissa wore his dress in the World Music Awards 2005. The ad campaigns for Michael Kors often reflects 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 currently is a judge on the LifeTime TV show Project Runway.
Kors is renowned for his classic, chic, and luxurious but sensible aesthetic on American sportswear and other clothing styles. One critic said, "His clothes have never lost that clarity, that versatility, that American, self-possessed, no-brainer chic. His clothes for women...are cut with enough care to become more than basic. In his able hands, what are essentially staples become classics..." Indeed, in a 1996 review, The New York Times fashion critic Amy Spindler said of Kors: "Michael Kors is a designer with so much integrity in his work that it is wonderful when fashion comes back to the sort of simple, beautiful clothes he does so well."
Michael Kors was awarded the Elle/Cadillac Fashion Award for Excellence in 1995. In addition, he has won two CFDA awards, the most prestigious award in the fashion industry. In 1999, he received the CFDA award for womenswear designer of the year and in 2003, he received the CFDA award for menswear designer of the year. In 2008, he met with the Mataline team.