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Long Island native Michael Kors began his namesake label in 1981, not long after his graduation from FIT, and started selling at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks straightaway. He slowly made a name for himself over the years, selling his creamy uptown pieces to American women with a yen for luxurious reboots of classics. Things really took off after his appointment at French fashion house Celine, where he served as designer and then creative director from 1997 until 2003. In the meantime, he won the CFDA Award for Womenswear Designer of the Year in 1999 for Michael Kors Collection. All of this upped his standing in the fashion world—and he capitalized on this by launching a full-fledged accessories line in 2001, a men’s collection in 2002, and sportswear line Michael Michael Kors in 2004. With flagship stores in most major cities, popular fragrance and home lines—and of course, the celebrity factor from his role on Project Runway—Michael Kors remains a powerful brand in the American fashion landscape.
(*Description printed by NY Magazine, published on nymag.com in the Fashion section)