With his red-carpet gowns, lush cashmere sweaters and jet-set shoulder totes, Michael Kors has influenced fellow designers across the globe.
These days, though, Kors is inspiring the fashion world not only with his "affordable luxury" merchandise, but also with the extraordinary success of his initial public offering nearly two years ago.
On Wednesday, Marc Jacobs announced his departure from Louis Vuitton to focus on an IPO of his own brand. Last year, Diane Von Furstenberg set off speculation about a stock offering when she hired a top-level fashion executive in a push to expand her business. And while Tory Burch has denied any near-term interest in an IPO, there are persistent whispers of a Wall Street debut.
Call it the Michael Kors effect.
When a company receives such an exuberant reception from stock investors, bankers say, it naturally causes similarly positioned businesses to think: Why not me?
"You might not see these designers filing for an IPO tomorrow, but they have all had discussions with advisers and are positioning themselves to go public," said a senior executive at a large investment bank who requested anonymity because of his involvement in some of those private conversations.
And you can be sure, "he added," that the Kors juggernaut looms large in these talks."
Shares of Michael Kors Holdings have more than tripled since their December 2011 offering, making the IPO one of the most successful in recent years, as the company continues to turn in exceptional financial results and torrid growth.
Now, it has a stock market of value of $15.5 billion, recently surpassing the $15.2 billion market capitalization of Ralph Lauren, one of the most storied brands in the history of the apparel business that has been a public company since 1997. The blazing performance of Michael Kors stock has created extraordinary wealth for its namesake, a Fashion Institute of Technology dropout who rose to fame as a judge on the fashion television show "Project Runway."
Kors, 54, has sold shares in his company totaling about $700 million and still holds stock valued at roughly $330 million.
His financial backers and senior executives have also cashed in.