“From the very beginning, I was convinced you could be sexy and sporty at the same time.” — Michael Kors, Women’s Wear Daily, March 2011, on the occasion of his company’s 30th anniversary It would be a mistake to assume the seemingly casual aesthetic Michael Kors prefers in his personal style (a uniform of jeans, a black tee, jacket and distressed leather bag) reflects the attitude he has toward his business. With a sharp focus on providing his customers with accessories and clothes that are consistently polished, chic, relaxed and glamorous, Michael Kors has created an enduring and iconic luxury lifestyle empire with a distinctive point of view and global reach. Raised in Merrick, Long Island, a suburban town 23 miles from New York City, Michael Kors revealed his eye for design at the age of five when he advised his mother, Joan, on her wedding dress for her second marriage. Kors went on to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, where he studied fashion design. He left school to start his own label in 1981, following accolades for his work at Lothar’s, the trendsetting boutique on New York’s West 57th Street. The first Michael Kors Collection runway show was held for the Fall 1984 season; in its review, WWD referenced his “collection of haute, classic sportswear” and “elegant but minimal dressing.” As he continued to build his own business, Kors also served as creative director of Céline, the renowned French luxury brand, from 1998 to 2004. He is credited with restoring the brand’s former luster, re-establishing it as one of the major European fashion houses. Michael Kors’ New York City-based company has seen significant growth beyond its ready-to-wear roots to its current status as a major design house in the luxury accessories arena (comprising handbags, footwear, sunglasses, watches, jewelry and fragrance) under the Michael Kors and MICHAEL Michael Kors labels. As of mid-2013, the company has over 400 stores in 89 countries, with flagships in the world’s most glamorous cities, including New York, London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Dubai and Istanbul. Kors has been the recipient of numerous industry awards including The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Womenswear Designer of the Year in 1999 and Menswear Designer of the Year in 2003. Amongst his other accolades, Kors has also been awarded The Accessories Council ACE Award for Designer of the Year in 2006 and Fashion Group International’s Star Honoree at its annual Night of Stars Awards Gala in 2009. In 2010, the CFDA acknowledged Kors with their most prestigious honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by Vogue editor in chief, Anna Wintour. He also received the Award of Courage from the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) in 2011. In October 2012, God’s Love We Deliver honored Kors with the Golden Heart Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013, Kors was selected for the Time 100, the magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world; he also made the New York Observer's list of the 100 Most Influential New Yorkers. In addition to all of these accomplishments, Kors was a judge on the Emmy-nominated show Project Runway from 2004-2012, which was syndicated internationally.