Exactly 75 years ago to the day, our founder, inspiration and dear friend Perry Ellis was born in the little city of Portsmouth, Virginia. In honor of the occasion, we're celebrating with 5 fun facts you may not have known about the designer.

1. Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi and Tom Ford worked for Perry.
Today's designers still talk about how Perry Ellis inspired them.

"When Perry Ellis was alive, no one did it better,"  men's wear designer Michael Bastian told The New York Times in 2012. "I think about him all the time. He was able to be modern and yet not come off antiseptic. He's the single greatest influence on my design life."

Few realize how profoundly he affected some of the big names in style today or how closely he worked with them. Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi and Tom Ford all worked under Perry Ellis in their early careers.

"When I was a kid, Perry Ellis was my favorite American designer," Marc Jacobs once wrote. "He made fashion romantic and whimsical and young. His clothes looked different from anyone else's."

2. His shows attracted writers, artists and celebrities from everywhere.
Fashion shows during the '70s and early '80s were normally very formulaic affairs. That wasn't the case for Perry Ellis. He injected life and excitement into every show, and that's why some of the most creative minds flocked to see his collections.

While showcasing his Fall 1978 line, there wasn't enough seating in the showroom for all of the big names, which included writers from Vogue, Women's Wear Daily, The New York Times, Mademoiselle and Glamour; executives from Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Saks and Bendel; and artist Andy Warhol.

3. He was a member of the Coast Guard's Ceremonial Honor Guard at the White House.
Perry signed up for the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve shortly after graduating William and Mary in 1961. His military career took an interesting turn when he became a member of the Coast Guard's Ceremonial Honor Guard, and he started serving duty in the White House alongside President John F. Kennedy and famed First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. According to a Coast Guard pal, he and Perry may have been the only two people to ever realize Mrs. Kennedy wore the same dress twice on one occasion.

4. He's honored on New York's 'Fashion Walk of Fame.'
Perry Ellis' achievements were well celebrated by critics. He received eight Coty Awards between 1979 and 1984, four Council of Fashion Designers of America awards and many other accolades were named after him. He was honored with a commemorative white bronze plaque on New York's "Fashion Walk of Fame" in 2002, which may be his most noteworthy honor today. 

5. He was fun-loving, funny and charming.
Whether it was an upbringing as a polite southern gentleman or natural self-confidence, Perry won over friends, colleagues and admirers with a special something. He was enigmatic and witty, and, despite working closely with designers that were sometimes over a decade younger than he was, always considered hip and easy to talk to. His style was a force to be reckoned with both in terms of clothing and sociability. That memorable demeanor is a large part of why he's still loved and admired years later.