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Narciso Rodriguez grew up in New Jersey and moved to New York City to study fashion at Parson's School of Design. After finishing school, he joined Anne Klein under Donna Karan and then moved to Calvin Klein working on women's wear. In 1995 he presented his own men's and women's ready-to-wear lines. In the following few years, he gained recognition for his designs winning "Best New Designer" at the Vogue/VH1 Fashion Awards and the Perry Ellis Award for "Best New Designer" by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In 2005 he was named "25 Most Influential Hispanics in America".

Narciso Rodriguez became a part of American history when President Barack Obama's wife, Michelle, chose to wear a dress from the designer's Spring 2009 collection to celebrate her husband's victory as the first African American president of the United States of America.

In 2003, Rodriguez created his first fragrance, Narciso Rodriguez for Her. It received the British FiFi Award for "Best New Fragrance" for that year and the Fragrance of the Year/Women’s Noveau Niche award in 2004. In 2007, Narciso Rodriguez for Him was released and received the 2008 Grand Prix du Parfum Award for Best Masculine Fragrance and Best Design. Narciso Rodriguez's third perfume, Essence, was launched in 2009. Narciso Rodriguez fragrances were made in collaboration with perfumers Alberto Morillas, Christine Nagel, Francis Kurkdjian and Aurelien Guichard.