Istvan Francer was born in Yugoslavia in 1957 although he is of Hungarian descent. Boyhood days were spent soaking up the 19th century paintings in his father's art gallery and admiring his mother's high-heeled shoes.
Istvan's sketching talent led him to the Belgrade Academy of Applied Arts. From there, he went to work in the Budapest theatre as a costume designer. In the mid-1980's, he left for the United States. He studied at Parsons School of Design in New York, graduating in 1987.
He won the CFDA Perry Ellis Award for student designer of the year, and Donna Karan who presented the Award, signed him up on the spot. He remained as a designer with her for 14 years till 2001.
He then decided to branch out on his own label. His debut collection under his own name was for Spring/Summer 2002. It was a clever mélange of French haute couture elements and Italian apparel finish.
From November 2001 the New York store Bergdorf Goodman started their exclusive retail contract for Francer's clothes.
An Italian conglomerate asked him to design their Maska collection. His debut collection for Fall 2002 presented in January 2002, was adventurous, whimsical and crafty. It was inspired by snowflake patterns and 19th century paintings by Giovanni Boldini. It was an immediate hit.
In September 2002, Francer presented the collection on his own label, for Spring/Summer 2003. However, thereafter he held up his own label collections for a while.
The next step in his career took place in August 2002, when he was appointed creative director at the famous Italian house of Cerruti. His first collection for Cerruti was Spring/Summer 2003 presented during Milan Fashion Week in October 2002 followed by the Fall collection in March 2003.
However, after only 2 seasons at Cerruti, it has been announced in April 2003 that Istvan will be leaving and Los Angeles-based David Cardona will be taking over immediately. We will have to wait and see the next career moves of Istvan Francer.