Designer Elie Tahari has excelled at creating stylish, desirable clothes for over thirty-five years, and has built one of the most successful fashion brands in the world. With his unique talent for dressing modern, sexy, sophisticated women, Tahari runs a $500 million business with a global presence in more than 40 countries including 600 U.S. stores and free-standing boutiques.
Tahari was born in 1952 in Jerusalem, the eldest son of a Persian Jewish couple. The family immigrated to Israel from Iran and lived then in the transition camp of Al-Qastal, now Mevasseret Zion. As his parents divorced and his father remarried, Elie was sent by the Israeli social services into an orphanage ("Sde Hemed") in Rishon Lezion, later moving to Tel Aviv ("Maon Hayeled"). The following years of his youth were spent in Kvutzat Schiller and in an Israeli Air Force boarding school in Haifa.
Tahari immigrated to the United States in 1971 as an electrician. Moving to New York he sought work in Manhattan's Garment District, sleeping many nights at a YMCA hotel, or on the benches of Central Park. In Manhattan he learned about the fashion retail business. His position selling clothing from a boutique in Greenwich Village introduced him to women's fashion.
Inspired by that era’s dazzling discos, Tahari began to create flirty dance dresses and his label was born. His creations were so well-received that he was one of the first fashion designers to open a boutique on Madison Avenue in 1974. Parlaying his keen ability to predict what a woman wants from fashion before she even knows it, he turned his attentions in the 80’s to the tailored suit– a design effort that redefined a decade.
After his 46th birthday, he met his future wife. In a collaborative effort, this husband-wife team has tripled the size of the company in the last five years, and launched the Elie Tahari Collection. Tahari has attained the likes of Agyness Deyn, Daria Werbowy and Eugenia Volodina to model his clothing.
In the United States, Tahari has boutiques in New York, Boston, East Hampton, Atlanta, Bal Harbour, Boca Raton, and Las Vegas. In the 2007 movie Enchanted, two characters are shown shopping at Tahari's New York City store.
He and his former business partner Andrew Rosen co-founded the Theory fashion brand in 1997. Tahari designed the clothes and Rosen was in charge of marketing and sales. Elie Tahari sold his share of the business in 2003 and is no longer involved in the company.
In March 2010 Tahari and his wife Rory placed much of their U.S. real estate on the market and were reported to be attempting to get out of their commercial leases.