Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Michael Kors Discusses His Bar Mitzvah, Jewish Mothers in Interview

The billionaire fashion designer and Project Runway personality revealed that his own coming-of-age ceremony was full of some ‘really ugly colors’

By: Daniel Koren

Published: February 17th, 2014 in News » World

In an interview with Style.com, run in time for New York City’s Fashion Week, billionaire Jewish fashion designer Michael Kors, who is also a personality on the hit TV show Project Runway, reflected on his Jewish upbringing, his mother, and, naturally, his Bar Mitzvah.

During the interview, Kors was asked who in his opinion was the first Jewish mother of the fashion world.

“For me, I’ve got a few,” he replied. “I guess Suzy [Menkes] to a certain degree. Ellin Saltzman has been a fashion Jewish mom to me for a long time; I’ve known her my whole life. I guess one is my British fashion mother, one is my New York mother, and of course, I have my own Jewish fashion mother. I have the trifecta. I’ve known Ellin since I started, so she really got to watch me grow up. Fashion is a family.”

It’s nice to hear the designer, who earned approximately $700 million from selling stocks since his company went public in 2011, is still so humble. The interview then proceeded to ask, “And I take it the show is like your Bar Mitzvah?”

I have to assume the journalist was Jewish?

“The show is definitely my Bar Mitzvah,” responded Kors. “I throw two Bar Mitzvahs a year—I always say that! Except my bar mitzvah was in the seventies and it was full of really ugly colors.”

The 54-year-old Kors currently owns 2 percent of Michael Kors, which is valued at around $390 million. Born in Long Island as Karl Anderson, Jr., Kors has erupted onto the fashion scene as one of the preeminent fashion designers of this generation. Since joining the cast of Project Runway, his reputation has only improved, with Michelle Obama wearing one of his signature sleeveless dresses for her first term official portrait.

Last year, Kors was named in TIME magazine’s Top 100 List, ranking the most successful and influential people in the world.

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