Monday felt very much like Michael Kors’ day, as the designer presented a joyful vacation-inflected collection in Domino Park under the Williamsburg Bridge on the banks of the East River over-looking Manhattan with the Freedom Tower in the distance.
The city mournfully remembering 9/11, as Vice President Kamala Harris and mayor Eric Adams joined scores of family members at the annual reading at Ground Zero of all the names of the 2996 who died in that dastardly crime.
Kors evoking the sense of loss in the soundtrack, a blend of the late great Burt Bacharach’s hits, mixed in with the Paris Philharmonic’s interpretation of his songs, culminating with Diane Warwick singing What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love.
A top-notch front-row led by Halle Berry, Ellen Pompeo, Blake Lively, Rita Ora and Olivia Wilde. Berry sitting beside Kors CEO John Idol, one of the busiest men in American fashion.
Last month, Tapestry, the owner of Coach, announced they would be buying Capri, which owns Kors and Versace, creating America’s biggest luxury group that also includes Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman.
“We could not be happier about this acquisition. We’re building a strong group, though we have a long way to go before we catch up with the big guy in Paris,” cracked Idol, in a reference to LVMH honcho Bernard Arnault.
On the runway, Kors presented a masterly display of haute gamme American sportswear, a clothing style in which he has no peer.
“Barefoot glamour. Vacation wrapped in glamour. Comfort and timeless beauty, everything involving water,” insisted Kors in a preview with FashionNetwork.com the day before in his 42nd Street headquarters.
All inspired by icons like Jackie O, Sharon Tate, Jane Birkin and his mother, who passed away recently.
He cut a lean silhouette with an Empire waist and shorter hemlines, using cashmere/cotton mesh and lace. Jeans and T-shirts composed on re-embroidered lace; mini cocktails created in hand crochet all looked great. Kors leavened the look with cool crepe tailored jackets, oversized giraffe pattern silk poolside dresses and the ultimate beach sweater, hand knit in mohair and silk.
“But please no shawl. Pashmina done, finished,” he insisted.
Ironically, the show idyl was broken by a series of noisy protestors, chanting against Kors’ use of another fabric – angora. One woman dressed in a slip dress and fake rabbit’s ears, almost made it backstage and had to be manhandled off the runway by security.
In terms of bags, Kors showed great leather basket weave totes made in Tuscany; or hand-macraméd bags with tassels made in Rome. His goal was timeless fashion, ideal for St Barths, St Tropez or Bali. Overall, this was a fresh transparent approach with multiple summery silk dresses, paired with polished and not utilitarian sandals.
An outdoor show that managed to escape the frequent flash showers of the past few days, thanks, perhaps, to Kors praying to a local weather shaman. Or his icons, or mum, smiling favorably on him.
“Recently my mother passed away, and I began to think of our many trips together. But we did not have many images. Nowadays every day we have a photo shoot. As people on holiday want to express themselves with what they wear,” mused Michael, standing before a mood board with his mum in the center looking very glam and posed beside her beaming young son in St Barths. Surrounded by Sophia Loren, Tate and Birkin on the board.
“We were thinking about Jane Birkin when making this collection and then she unfortunately passed away. A Brit living in France but so laid back and to me very American,” added Kors.
Kors chose the river location to celebrate New York’s status as a maritime city, like Hong Kong, Rio or Sydney. “So, I wanted to take you to a waterfront for a beautiful escape. I cannot take you to Capri, so Brooklyn is the new Capri!” he laughed.
Asked, about the Tapestry deal, Kors responded: “This reminds me of when I went to Paris to Celine, Marc Jacobs to Vuitton and Narciso Rodriguez to Loewe 20 years ago, and the French said, you guys drink so much coca cola with your meals. And I’m like, ‘we are American and we are changing the rules!’” he giggled.
“We are in an era when borders are ending. I feel incredibly happy and proud to see that, it’s like the Berlin Wall falling in fashion. So, this is exciting,” he stressed.
Post-show, Kors was mobbed with scores of fans requesting photos with the designer. But in a sense his day had barely begun, since Kors will host a cocktail with World Food Program executive director Cindy McCain and special guest Halle Berry on Monday evening in the United Nations.
In the city that never sleeps, Kors is the designer that never stops.
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