#SuzyNYFW: Michael Kors – Corny But Compelling
A happy! happy! happy! Michael Kors was pictured leaping on the posters at the Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater. He was jumping with just as much joy on the invitations to his autumn/winter 2018 show. And you could say that the collection was ‘as corny as Kansas in August’ – except that was about the only old song not blaring out as the models walked the runway.
Yet in the designer’s familiar way of making his collections seem real, here were all necessary pieces for a winter wardrobe, from plaid or check jackets – for both sexes – to the kind of camel cape coat that would slip over a gym kit, leaving arms and hands free to carry the latest purchase. To prove the point, the models negotiated the up-and-down of the theatre’s entrance stairs carrying Michael Kors bags. One in each hand.
And talking of bags, a series decorated by the faux Fifties drawings of artist David Downton added a piquant touch to a collection with a perpetual aim to please.
“I wanted something that was sort of a homage,” said Kors backstage, greeting all the models personally after their long walk around the theatre.
“First off, it’s Valentine’s Day,” he continued. “So it’s about things I love, the women I love, people who have fun with fashion. The theatre always puts me in a good mood. It’s the Lincoln Center. It’s iconic. We have to wave the flag.”
The New York season has been worse than dull. The retreat of big names like Joseph Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler and the Rodarte sisters, who have all decamped to Paris, brings into question how the NY Fashion Week can continue to play a serious part in the fashion calendar.
In this situation, Michael Kors did everything right by being all-American, showing up-town clothes that are explicable to a certain work-and-play class across the developed world. But these clothes, mixing perhaps an animal print jacket with a striped sports top and a rose patterned skirt, are not dull. Kors adds the appropriate touches of whimsy: ankle boots to match the mini flowers on a slip dress; bolder flowers with a touch of Dolce & Gabbana; plaids as a pattern with none of the twists of Punk.
After seeing an exhibition of designer Norman Norell at the Fashion Institute of Technology (Norell: Dean of American fashion, until 18th April), I had been pondering the fading away of tidy clothes for women who work and who need tailoring as a base for their wardrobes.
The strength of Kors is that he knows how to focus on daytime clothes without pinning them to any time or place. His work is offered mostly as easy pieces that could be mixed with other elements on the runway. In my mind’s eye, I could see a pair of Scottish tartan narrow trousers removed from their partnership with a plaid blazer and worn with a big fluffy jacket.
That is, of course, just how the designer sees his collection – as a mix-and-match. He has been saying how much he is inspired by different aspects of the city “the electricity, the speed, the diversity, the individuality – and of course, the art, food and fashion.”
It was good to hear this enthusiasm, proving that the death of American fashion is much exaggerated.