Born in 1961 in New Jersey of Cuban-american parents. He was the son of a Cuban dock worker who came originally from the Canary Islands..He grew up in a poorer part of New Jersey. His parents were not very enthusiastic about his chosen career, fashion design. Fashion is not a very macho pursuit in Cuban society.
Narciso Rodriguez received his formal education at the famous Parson’s School of Design in New York. He started his career as a designer under Donna Karan at Anne Klein, then switched to Calvin Klein where he worked on that designers coat collection and fur line (since discontinued). In 1995, Rodriques became design director of Tse where he presented ready to wear collections for men and women in New York.
Simultaneously, Rodriguez was appointed design director of Cerruti in Paris. It was at Cerruti that Narciso received worldwide attention when he designed the bias-cut sheath wedding dress that his friend Carolyn Bessette would wear when she married John Kennedy, Jr. This did not go down very well with Nino Cerruti, so he did not renew his contract. Cerruti's loss was ABS's gain. ABS is America's best loved copy cat brand name manufacturer. It sells versions of the real thing for much lower prices.
In October 1997, the first women’s ready to wear collection under the Narciso Rodriguez label, in partnership with Italian manufacturer Aeffe factories of Alberta Ferretti, was presented in Milan for the Spring/Summer 1998 season. Following the collection, Rodriguez was awarded “best new designer” at the Vogue/VH1 fashion awards in New York and the “Perry Ellis award” for best new designer by the council of fashion designers of America.
Loewe, the Spanish leather luxury house established in Madrid in 1846 and owned by LVMH since January 1997, appointed Rodriguez as design director of the women’s ready to wear collection. The first runway presentation for Loewe was held in March 1997 during the Paris Fall/Winter 1998 season. In early 2001, Narciso Rodriguez declined to renew his contract with Loewe. In September 2001, AEFFE (Italy) agreed to finance production of his own label which started with Fall 2001 to great acclaim.
For his Fall/Winter 2001 ready to wear collection, Narciso Rodriguez decided to return to New York. Narciso is the first designer in history to receive the womenwear designer of the year award by the council of fashion designers of America consecutively in 2002 and 2003. He has continued to show his collections in New York, having joined a new generation of designers known for exquisite tailoring and fine design and craftsmanship.
Sleek and ultramodern, clothes by Narciso Rodriguez combine bold colors and shapes with luxurious fabrics, creating a contemporary vision of femininity that’s more about strong silhouettes and clean lines than frills and pastels. Embraced by red carpet starlets and dress-to-impress socialites, the label specializes in slinky, silky eveningwear, but also makes suits and cocktail wear that reference the mod style of the early-1960's. Architectural, pure, sculptural, precise, sensual, sleek, modern, classic, practical, feminine, elegant.
His style is American with a European influence and latin at heart. American, because Narciso Rodriquez masters to perfection the art of precise streamlined tailoring to serve a practical style. With a European influence, because both the tradition and the vitality of “haute couture” have been a source of inspiration for Narciso Rodriquez, who has developed a very personal vision of timeless elegance, where classicism generates a new modernity. At heart, his fashion is influenced by his latin heritage.