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The history of Michael Kors


Over the last twenty years, Michael Kors has become one of the top fashion designers in the United States. This is due to the brand’s focus on luxury sportswear and accessories which are both sleek and sophisticated. Whether you’re partying in Palm Beach, skiing down the slopes of Aspen or dancing the night away in Capri, this designer has been able to promote his vision of jet-set fashion for both ladies and gentlemen worldwide.

Michael Kors
Photo by Mike Mozart

The Beginning

Michael Kors unleashed himself upon the world in 1981, and he hasn’t looked back since. Consumers were first introduced to his brand via upscale stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdales. And, by 1983, Michael Kors had received his first recognition via the First American Original Award. In 1995, over a decade later, the designer received another accolade, the Elle/Cadillac Fashion Award. This recognition led to the Michael Kors brand being featured in Vogue magazine, where he was referred to as being one of the most influential designers within the last ten years. By the late 1990s, Michael Kors had introduced a menswear line, and in 1999 he earned his third accolade: the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year.

The New Millennium

Ambition has always defined the very fabric of Michael Kors, so it was no surprise when the designer decided to expand into fragrances at the start of the new millennium. In 2000 the designer released his first ever perfume for women, simply named “Michael Kors.” The following year, the designer decided to maintain momentum with the introduction of accessories, sunglasses and cologne for men. The fashion industry responded by nominating Michael Kors for the Accessories Designer of the year.

Throughout the 2000s, Kors continued to expand his empire, introducing belts, handbags and even eyewear. In 2003 a complete men’s collection was released, leading to Kors winning a fourth award when he was named the CFDA’s Menswear Designer of the Year. By the following year, the designer had opened over 340 stores across the United States. But just when it seemed like the designer could fly no higher, he did, by forming a partnership with Fossil in order to launch the designer’s first line of watches.

Although Michael Kors introduced a number of different fragrances, it was the launch of ‘Island Michael Kors’ in 2005 that took the fragrance world by storm. This line of fragrances became so successful that four new editions have been released, cementing the designer as a trendsetter in the fragrance market. The following year, the company achieved what most designers can only dream of – international expansion.


Michael Kors has now become a household name, a brand worn by celebrities as well as politicians. Michelle Obama, first lady and wife of U.S. President Barack Obama, chose to wear the designer for her first portrait as first lady. The company has continued to expand into Asia, and has won a fifth award, the Geoffrey Been Lifetime Achievement. The fragrance line was also given the Fifi Hall of Fame Award for Lifetime Achievement.


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