Michael Kors was born on August 9, 1959, and raised on Long Island. He moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, but dropped out after two semesters. Kors launched his women's collection in 1981 and became a judge on Project Runway in 2004. First Lady Michelle Obama posed in a Michael Kors dress for her first official portrait. Kors lives in New York City. Designer. Born August 9, 1959, Karl Anderson, Jr. was raised on New York's Long Island. As a toddler, Kors worked as a model, appearing in national campaigns for products such as toilet paper and Lucky Charms cereal.
Kors' biological parents split when he was young, and he got his new name at age 5 when his mother married businessman Bill Kors. His mom changed his last name and gave him the chance to pick his first name. He chose Michael as his first name and his second-favorite, David, as his middle name. His mother also allowed him to design her wedding dress. Kors moved to New York City in the 1970s to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. He loved the city more than the school, however, and dropped out after two semesters.
In 1978, Kors went to work at the French boutique Lothar's, which allowed him to design and merchandise his first fashion collection. The well-received collection generated enough interest that Kors was able to start his own fashion line. Michael Kors Women's Collection launched in May 1981, and was sold in the high-end department stores Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. When he was 23, he convinced the formidable fashion editor Anna Wintour - then of New York magazine, now the editor of Vogue - to view his collection.
Kors displayed the collection laid out on his bed in his apartment. From these humble beginnings, he soon picked up celebrity fans like Barbara Walters and earned awards for his designs. In 1990, however, Kors; company was forced to reorganize under bankruptcy. After getting back on his feet, Kors launched KORS Michael Kors, a lower-priced line. He also became the creative director of Celine, a French fashion house, in 1997. In the six years he held that position, he continued to expand his own brand, launching menswear, accessory and perfume lines.
In 2003, he won the coveted Menswear Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the most prestigious prize in American fashion. In 2004, Kors was asked to be a judge on a new reality television show called Project Runway. He almost turned it down. The show premiered December 1, 2004, and became an immediate hit with fans and critics. Kors' quips and blunt criticisms were fan favorites, and he continued as a judge in subsequent seasons.
Kors lives in New York City with his boyfriend Lance La Pere, the vice president of Michael Kors Women's Design. Viewers of Project Runway often comment on his perennial tan, a source of pride for the beach-loving Kors. Countless celebrities wear his garments, and First Lady Michelle Obama posed in a Michael Kors dress for her first official portrait. With new lines constantly in production, and more customers drawn in by his Project Runway appearances, Kors' fashion empire continues to grow.