|Narciso Rodríguez III|
|Born||27 January 1961
|Education||The New School (Parsons division)|
|Awards||CFDA best designer, 2004, 2005|
Early life and education
Rodriguez is the eldest child and only son of Cuban parents. His father, Narciso Rodríguez II, a longshoreman, and Rawedia María Rodríguez, are of Canarian descent. He grew up in Newark, New Jersey. His parents were against Narciso entering fashion: "They wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer or a dentist. So when I dared to tell them, the shit hit the fan. It was crazy. But no matter how many times I heard 'No,' I just kept going. I never thought about 'no'. 'No' wasn’t an option." He was educated at the New School in New York, studying at their art and design college, Parsons The New School for Design.
Following freelance work in New York’s garment industry, he joined Anne Klein as Women’s Design Director under Donna Karan. Later, he moved to Calvin Klein where he worked on the Women’s Collection. In 1997 he launched his own label. His first major attention came when he designed the wedding dress of fellow Calvin Klein employee Carolyn Bessette for her wedding to John F. Kennedy, Jr..
In 2005 he became the first American to win the Council of Fashion Designers of America Womenswear Designer of the Year Award two years in a row. However, by 2006, Rodriguez, who had ended his partnership with his label's manufacturer, Aeffe, was over US$1 million in debt to his suppliers, and needed fabric donations for his spring collection. His clients include Salma Hayek, Anna Paquin, Claire Danes, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel Weisz, and Sonia Braga.
On November 4, 2008, Michelle Obama wore a dress from Narciso Rodriguez's spring 2009 collection when she joined her husband, Barack Obama, appearing for the first time as president-elect of the United States, on the stage at Grant Park in Chicago; it was widely panned by both the fashion press and the public. The dress, originally unveiled at New York City's Fashion Week in September 2008, came from Rodriguez's "stress-relief" design collection. Rodriguez was a strong supporter in the fashion world of Barack Obama's campaign; in August 2008, he blamed a slowdown in his business on "this Bush mess".
- White, Constance C. R. "A Phoenix Rises to Take His Influence Global", The New York Times, December 30, 1997. Accessed January 11, 2008.
- "Narciso Rodríguez". hispaniconline.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. Retrieved 2007-10-26.
- Horyn, Cathy; May 7, 2007; "Fashion Industry Rallies to Aid Designer in Trouble"; The New York Times; retrieved May 7, 2007.
- May 5, 2007; "Narciso Rodriguez and Liz Claiborne Inc. Announce Partnership Agreement". Accessed June 29, 2008.
- La Ferla, Ruth, "That Dress? Everyone Has an Opinion.", The New York Times, November 5, 2008. Accessed November 5, 2008.
- WWD Staff, "Rodriguez Poolside... Moving On.", Women's Wear Daily, August 20, 2008. Accessed November 6, 2008.