- The Origin
- The Céline Era
- Sportswear Holding Limited Acquired Michael Kors
- Project Runway
- New Lines Launched
- 30th Anniversary
- Current Situation
Michael Kors is an American designer born in 1959 and raised on Long Island, near New York City. His mother was a model. For school he attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, but dropped out after 9 months. He started his professional career at the age of 19, when he designed a collection for the Lothar boutique in New York, for which he started to work as sales assistant. His success with the industry was such that he was urged to start his own business.
In 1981 the Michael Kors label made its début and the first collection, based on perfectly structured luxury sportswear, was presented. It was distributed, among the others, by Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue. In 1995 he launched the line Kors Michael Kors manufactured by Onward Kashiyama USA, the brand factory of Onward Kashiyama Japan. In November 1997 he presented his first line of men’s prêt-à-porter.
At the same time, Kors was appointed the designer for Céline, of which he was made artistic director in 1999. He is considered a pioneer of the minimalist style. He lives in Paris and New York.
In 1999 Kors sold one third of his company share to LVMH, also the owner of Céline. One year later, Michael Kors launched the first perfume produced and distributed by Parfums Givenchy. During this time, he opened two sales points in Madison Avenue, New York, following in 2002, more boutiques opened in Soho and Tokyo. The same year, the Council of Fashion Designers of America names Kors Womenswear Designer of the Year.
The year 2002 also witnessed the launch of Michael Kors full men’s collection. A year later the designer announced that his contract with Céline ended, he would leave the maison. The Fall-Winter Collection 2003-2004 was the last collection he designed for Celine. The announcement came only a few weeks before the renewal of his annual contract with LVMH, Kors had lead them to believe his collaboration with the group was to continue for a long time.
At the same year, two entrepreneurs, Silas Chou and Lawrence Stroll, through their company, Sportswear Holdings Limited, acquired 85% share of Michael Kors including the one-third stake in Kors’ business held by LVMH Group, the 10% that Onward Kashiyama USA bought in 2000 and the remainder owned by John Orchulli, Kors’ long-term business partner who stay with the firm as chief executive officer for a short-term interim.
In 2004, Kors became a judge on a new reality television show called Project Runway. Project Runway immediately became a hit show, his blunt criticisms comments were fan favorites. Kors was on this show until 2012, he announced that he would be retiring from Project Runway. By that time, the series had garnered several Emmy Award nominations.
Also in 2004, Michael Kors launched two new lines, MICHAEL Michael Kors, and KORS Michael Kors. These lines are sold in 350 stores in the United States offer ready-to-wear, handbags, swimwear, jeans, footwear and other accessories. Meanwhile, the company signed a contract with the Fossil to create and launch the Michael Kors watch line.
March 2011, the company celebrated its 30th anniversary with a new flagship store in Paris opened and one dinner party, the party is full of celebrities, models, singers, editors, It girls, actresses were attended.
Later in this year, Kors became the youngest designer who received The Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from CFDA. A year later, Michael Kors company renewed its contract to work with Fossil, besides the watch line, Michael Kors Jewelry line were set to be created.
Kors has always been involved in charity, fighting hunger for more than 20 years. In 2013 he partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help fight world hunger by designing the 100 Series watch. A portion of the proceeds from his special-edition timepiece helps WFP deliver food to children through its school meals program. In 2015, the designer is announced as a Global Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme, together with its customers the company has helped deliver over 10 million meals to hungry children around the world through the programme. The company is also a longtime supporter of God’s Love We Deliver, and worked with the New York-based organization to help distribute meals to people with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.
In 2016, Michael Kors signed a major partnership with McLaren-Honda, becoming the official lifestyle partner of the world championship Formula One team for boosting the brand’s jet-set associations.
In July 2017, Michael Kors company announced its acquirement of the luxury footwear and accessory brand Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion. In November, the brand announced that Francesca Leoni was appointed as the new Senior Vice President and Chief Brand Officer for the Michael Kors brand.
Currently, Michael Kors stores are present in the most prestigious cities in the world including New York, London, Milan, Paris, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Through company owned shops and licensing partners they offer their consumer products including accessories, footwear, watches, jewelry, men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, eyewear and a full line of fragrance products.