Global fashion giant Michael Kors announced Tuesday that it had agreed to buy Versace, signaling an intention to move deeper into the international big league after snapping up shoemaker Jimmy Choo last year.
The company, rooted in iconic American fashion, but headquartered in London, will pay $2.1 billion for the Italian luxury giant, a statement said.
Here are five things to know about Michael Kors:
– Mr Kors –
The creative vision is Michael Kors, the Long Island born creative director who founded the label in 1981 after dropping out of fashion school.
He has flirted with billionaire status and is still supremely wealthy. For 10 years, he was a judge on television show “Project Runway” his acerbic commentary jettisoning his fame into US households nationwide.
From 1997 to 2004, he was women’s ready-to-wear designer at French fashion house Celine.
– New York state of mind –
The company might be officially headquartered in London, but the label is quintessentially American in design, outlook and spirit.
Michael Kors New York fashion week shows are strictly A-list, welcoming the likes of Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Blake Lively.
His clean, urban silhouette has dressed the likes of Michelle Obama, such as the famous sleeveless shift in her first official portrait as first lady — and Melania Trump.
– Troubled waters –
As a business enterprise, the company has had its ups and downs. In 1993 was forced to file for bankruptcy protection after having lost the support of investors.
But with the help of an initial investment from LVMH, where he was creative director at Celine, he relaunched and got back on track.
– Mass appeal –
The American fashion entrepreneurial spirit is commercial — lifestyle brands set at a price point attainable for the aspirational and well marketed.
Like its main American rival Coach, which has now been rolled into company Tapestry, Michael Kors is high-end but not at the level of luxury as Versace.
MK bags are popular with working women, selling for between $200 to $600. Much of its mass appeal comes from its accessories — bags, glasses, footwear and scent.
– Comeback kid –
John Idol joined Michael Kors in 2003 and has been instrumental in its turn around, becoming chairman in 2011, the year the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange.
It has presided over an aggressive expansion, before being forced to retrench over falling sales and in 2017 announce the closure of 125 stores.
Announcing its first quarter fiscal 2019 results in August, the company estimated total revenue for the year at $5.12 billion, including $580-590 from Jimmy Choo, compared to $4.7 billion in 2017 and $800 million in 2011.
By late June, the company has 1,000 Michael Kors locations around the world and more than 252 Jimmy Choo outlets.