A Long Island native and FIT graduate, Michael Kors introduced his label in 1981 and was immediately picked up by major department stores Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Kors has built a career out of his renowned classic American sportswear that earned him the prestigious CFDA award in 1999. His garments are classics rather than basic and pure rather than simple. Kors understands luxury fundamentally in its most understated and versatile form. His minimalistic approach to designing rejuvenated the French house, Celine, during his reign from 1997 to 2003. The launch of his menswear collection in 2002 garnered Kors his second CFDA award. In addition to his critically acclaimed ready-to-wear collections, Kors capitalized his commercial success with the launch of his diffusions lines in 2004, MICHAEL Michael Kors (handbags and footwear) and KORS Michael Kors (footwear and jeans).