NEW YORK — “Pablo Picasso once said, ‘A good artist copies, a great artist steals,’” designer Elie Tahari told a gathering of design students at the Fashion Institute of Technology here last week. Tahari was discussing his rise to fame, which started with a $2 tube top he designed after noticing them on the streets of New York City in the Seventies, and repurposing it to ultimately create a multimillion-dollar business.
Though fame came almost overnight for the designer, Tahari — celebrating his 40th year in business — said it was hardly an easy transition. He overcame adversity, fighting through poverty, becoming orphaned in Israel and then creating an empire with only $100 in his pocket. Today, Elie Tahari is a global brand worth $500 million.
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