One woman’s dedication to fashion

Melanie Gillespie

WATCH a video about about one woman’s obsession with Michael Kohr’s collections.

The fashion museum opened a new exhibit celebrating the designs of Michael Kors on Saturday.

Michael Kors debuted on the fashion runway almost 30 years ago and remains a namesake in the American fashion landscape.

Museum curator, Dr. Anne Bissonnette said, “A lot of the garments he produces are very chic, very glamorous and very, very practical. And it’s the practicality that has attracted women around the world and still now.”

But Michael Kors’ collection meant so much more for one woman.

“The collection came from one source, Wendy Zuckerwise Ritter. Who was a New-Yorker and worked in the fashion industry in New York for decades,” Bissonnette said.

Zuckerwise collected hundreds of pieces from Michael Kors.

She died from endometrial cancer in 2008.

The museum chose to display a few pieces from her collection dating back to 2000 as part of her legacy.

Zuckerwise’s widower, Dr. Nathanial Ritter, said that she had hundreds of pieces, but just a few were chosen.

“The pieces that you’re seeing here are simply pieces that Dr. Bissonnette had picked out of her collection. There are many, many more pieces at our home but this is the color palette that she felt all blended together that would make a nice exhibit. But not wholly representative of what Michael Kors has done.”

Michael Kors will celebrate 30 years of business next year. Kors dedicated his 2009 spring line to Zuckerwise who was a close companion and fan of Kors.

“And the black scalloped jacket had a top and skirt that was scalloped each and that was Wendy’s most favorite piece she ever bought anywhere ever. And she just loved the clean line that Michael has and really respected him for the person that he was, his design work that he does and the quality of the fabrics. She was thrilled to work with him,” Ritter said.

The 14 ensembles displayed in the exhibition include pieces produced by Kors himself and his work with the luxury French clothing line, Celine.

Ritter knew his wife’s signature garments would be a celebration of her passion and relationship with the designer.

“And they collaborated a lot and he has absolutely an incredible person. He is a wonderful, wonderful man. Wendy had a very, very fond relationship with him and like him so much,” Ritter said.

The exhibition will be on display for the next 11 months on the first floor of the Kent State University Fashion Museum.