Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Michael Kors

American fashion designer Michael Kors (b. 1959), a Long Island native, studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and began designing clothes at the age of 19. At age 22 he launched his womenswear line at luxury department stores and in 1997 was named the first ever women's ready-to-wear designer and creative director for the French fashion house Celine. Kors launched a menswear line in 2002, and left Celine a year later to concentrate on his own brands.

Kors has full collection boutiques in Paris, New York, Beverly Hills, Palm Beach, Manhasset, and Chicago and celebrates 31 years in business this year. He and his partner of 21 years, Lance LaPere, were married in New York last summer. LaPere (the taller of the two) started as the designer’s Paris intern in 1990, and the happy couple resides in a home on Fire Island.

Celebrities have worn Kors' designs in films and at Academy Awards ceremonies. Michelle Obama (photographed below wearing a Kors creation in the Blue Room of the White House) has worn his creations, as well as Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum, Joan Allen, Jennifer Garner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Rene Russo and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Kors is known to thousands as a judge on the reality TV show Project Runway. Eight weeks ago Michael Kors Holdings filed with the SEC to raise $751 million in an IPO.

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