An oral history of Michael Kors, from the WWD Archives:
August 9, 1959: Michael Kors, son of Bill and Joan, is born in Merrick, N.Y.
1959-1977: Spends childhood afternoons visiting an uncle who worked in the fashion industry, and went shopping wholesale on weekends with his mother. "For every male designer," he told WWD in 1985, "the way your mother dresses has an impact forever. My mother is very unmovable in her taste, her likes and dislikes."
1968: Designs his first collection. "I had a boutique in my basement when I was nine where I handpainted ugly little leather vests to sell to neighbors."
1977: Graduates from John F. Kennedy High School, Bellmore, N.Y.
1978: Drops out of FIT after one year. "I’m an FIT dropout. I thought I’d learn more working than at school so I left after one semester."
1978-1981: Works for Lothars, a store on 57th Street across from Bergdorf Goodman. "I had been selling part time, and they suggested I try designing. I made a few things for spring and by fall all the clothes in the store were mine. It was like a giant fantasy laboratory." His clothes started getting attention of customers and he showed them to Anna Wintour and Dawn Mello, who worked at Bergdorf at the time.
1981: Forms the Michael Kors label in 1981, delivering his first order to Bergdorf Goodman with the help from his aunt Mona and her Mercedes. "We put a pole across the back of the Mercedes and hung my whole order on it, and she got all dressed up because, you know, we were going to Bergdorf’s and she thought she was going to meet Dawn Mello." Volume for his first fall and spring collections is $450,000.
1989: Kors reaches $10 million dollar volume.
"When I first started, I was lumped into the new and young category. Yes, I’m young, but I don’t do kicky clothes. They’re young and sophisticated, but definitely not zany."
Nov. 1997: Signs on at Celine.
"The most important thing is that Céline is about real clothes. Women want to put Céline on their backs, and they enjoy wearing it."
1999: Named creative director for Celine.
June 1999: CFDA names him women’s designer of the year.
"I am American. And I bring with that certain popular touchstones. Maple syrup rocks my world. And cranberry juice."
1999: Golden Hanger Award, E!
Feb. 1999: LVMH purchases a third of Michael Kors LLC.
"It does enable us to drop the tag, ‘American designer.’ There will be no deal anytime soon for paint at Kmart."
2000: Onward Kashiyama purchases 10 percent.
Sept. 2000: Opens Madison Avenue Michael Kors flagship.
"I never thought commercial was a dirty word. I absolutely want the clothes to be wearable. I want a woman to be able to find a lipstick in the bags and to be able to walk in the shoes."
2000: Launches signature fragrance with Parfums Givenchy.
"Fragrance is the most personal thing we will ever sell. It’s my fingerprint."
Oct. 2001: Celebrates 20th year with a new Water Island home.
"When I started out at 23 or 24, I kept thinking, when is someone going to say, ‘He is one of the cool designers’? Then all of a sudden I was 30 and they are still not saying I am cool. I finally realized that cool means you are disinterested."
2001: Launches Michael Kors footwear, eyewear and handbag collections.
2002: Opens Kors Michael Kors flagship in SoHo, and Michael Kors flagship in Tokyo.
Feb. 2002 : Launches full Michael Kors men’s wear collection.
Jan. 2003: Sportswear Holdings Limited acquires minority stakes held by LVMH, Onward Kashiyama and John Orchulli.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)