Designer Michael Kors was raised in Merrick, Long Island, a suburban town 23 miles from New York City. His keen eye for fashion was evident at a young age: at five, he advised his mother, Joan, to cut the bows off her wedding dress for her second marriage. She removed the bows.
Kors graduated from high school in 1977 and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. He also took a job at Lothar’s, a trendsetting boutique on West 57th Street, where his talents were noticed by Dawn Mello, then executive vice president of Bergdorf Goodman. Mello encouraged Kors to contact her if he ever designed a collection. Kors did just that, and in 1981 officially launched his own line. He held his first runway show in 1984, sending Iman down the runway in a turtleneck and gray flannels.