Michael Kors is an American fashion designer best known for serving as a judge on the popular television show Project Runway. He's also known for designing Michelle Obama's dress for her first official portrait. IN THESE GROUPS FAMOUS LEOS FAMOUS MODELS FAMOUS PEOPLE NAMED KORS FAMOUS PEOPLE BORN IN UNITED STATES Show All Groups QUOTES “Now that Valentino has retired, I believe someone must wave the too-tanned flag.” —Michael Kors Synopsis Michael Kors was born on August 9, 1959, on Long Island, New York. He moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, but dropped out after two semesters. Kors launched his women's collection in 1981 and became a judge on Project Runway in 2004. First Lady Michelle Obama posed in a Michael Kors dress for her first official portrait. Kors lives in New York City. Early Life Born Karl Anderson Jr. on Long Island, New York, on August 9, 1959, famed fashion designer Michael David Kors was raised on New York's Long Island. As a toddler, Kors worked as a model, appearing in national campaigns for products such as toilet paper and Lucky Charms cereal. Kors's biological parents split when he was quite young, and he got his new name at the age of 5, when his mother married businessman Bill Kors. "My mother said, 'You're getting a new last name, so why don't you pick a new first name?'" Kors recalled. He chose Michael as his first name and his second-favorite, David, as his middle name. His mother also allowed him to design her wedding dress. Kors, already a fashion addict, was thrilled with the prospect. "The marriage didn't last, [but] the pictures are timeless," Kors quipped later. From their suburban home in Merrick, New York, Kors scavenged every bit of fashion intelligence he could gather. "I practically hyperventilated every month when Vogue arrived, and I loved shopping," he said. Kors moved to New York City in the 1970s to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. He loved the city more than the school, however, and dropped out after two semesters. In 1978, Kors went to work at the French boutique Lothar's, which allowed him to design and merchandise his first fashion collection. The well-received collection generated enough interest that Kors was able to start his own fashion line. Michael Kors Women's Collection launched in May 1981, and was sold in the high-end department stores Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue.