History of Michael Kors

“Michael Kors is the leading American fashion designer for luxury accessories and sportswear. The company’s heritage is rooted in producing polished, sleek, sophisticated American sportswear with a jet-set attitude. Whether Aspen, Palm Beach or Capri, our mission is to bring our vision of a jet-set, luxury lifestyle to women and men around the globe. Our products, emblematic of the highest standard of quality, include apparel, accessories and beauty. Our lifestyle-driven company embraces the highest standards of creativity, quality, technology and human resources.”

This is the mission statement of Michael kors, a luxury brand that’s a staple of fashionistas everywhere. Whether their structured handbags or super trendy collection of accessories and eyewear, Kors never fails to disappoint. The main reason for the brand becoming a household name: this is a label that makes luxury clothing which doesn't just look great on the runways, it’s also totally wearable in real life. 

 Michael Kors

Michael Kors

Though comparatively new in the long line of luxury brands we love today — the brand celebrates its 35th anniversary this year — it still hasn’t failed to make its mark on the fashion scene amidst power fashion houses as contemporaries. Started in 1981 by Michael Kors in New York, the label was huge when it launched in high-end retail stores such as Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor and many others. By 1996, Michael Kors was named part of the ‘New Establishment’ by Vogue magazine — they even called the creative designer ‘one of the most influential designers of the decade’. 

 Kors 90's campaign

Kors 90's campaign

Kors' ability to design clothes that combine the classic components of great American sportswear with elements of luxury, elegance, and ease in good measure is what took the brand forward. His collections only keep getting better and better: the Fall ’99 line opened to rave reviews, and he won the Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, his designs for Céline revived the French fashion house (and made Kors something of a celebrity in Paris in the bargain!), the label launched their first women’s fragrance in 2000 which was big hit, and Michael Kors was nominated for the Accessories Designer of the year from the CFDA in 2001, when accessories were added to the empire.

In 2004, the designer launched two new lines, MICHAEL Michael Kors, and KORS Michael Kors, in order to bridge different segments (The KORS line is seen as mid-tier line between the Michael Kors runway line and the MICHAEL line).

 Kors and his mother, Joan Hamburger

Kors and his mother, Joan Hamburger

When asked how he gained such insight into women and their wardrobes, Kors credits his mother, a former Revlon model, for being his inspiration and teaching him everything he knows. As a boy growing up on Long Island, she took him with her on frequent shopping expeditions to many of Manhattan’s finest specialty boutiques. By the time he was 10, Kors was designing vests and T-shirts for neighbourhood girls and selling them out of a boutique in the basement!

Today, the brand includes ready-to-wear for men and women, handbags, swimwear, footwear, accessories, fragrances — all things that define the über luxurious lifestyle of the current generation. No wonder, celebrities across the board ranging from Sharon Stone to Gwyneth Paltrow, Elizabeth Hurley to Barbara Streisand, are fans of the brand — Michelle Obama chose a Michael Kors piece to wear in her first presidential portrait!

His influences may vary from season to season, but Kors’ creations are always perfect examples of investment dressing — simplicity, luxury, and comfort, the foundation of his early collections, remain the core of his designs even today.