NEW YORK, United States — Michael Kors peppers his pre-collection presentations with enough one-liners to constitute a stand-up act. He is most successful when his clothes are as sharp as his delivery.
For Pre-Fall, which Kors prefers to call Trans-season, he offered a broad range of looks meant to illustrate the push-pull between the ultra-feminine and the tomboy, an idea he visits frequently. (The designer said he was thinking about Audrey Hepburn in "Two for the Road" and the aristocratic, androgynous model Stella Tennant.)
“Trans-season is one of the most interesting things to design for, because it’s kind of like the Wild Wild West,” he said, referencing the variety of silhouettes and fabric weights (designed for a range of climates) offered within the collection. “The mix is extreme,” he continued.
Indeed, Kors swung from fur to florals, occasionally combining the two, and almost never missing a beat. “This one you definitely don’t have in the closet,” he said of a full-length flower-intarsia mink coat in sugary pink and white. “We have a feeling there will be an insane mother-daughter request somewhere."
In many cases, he played down the sweetness of the colours by using them in more boyish silhouettes, like a pair of crushed-cotton trousers, articulated at the knee, and a pleated skirt worn with a cashmere pullover cut out at the back. “Newport in the front, and Newport Beach in the back,” he said. Zing!
Joking aside, Kors seemed determined to offer his customer something more. Cardigans were masterfully rendered in 20-gauge, hosiery-weight cashmere for breezy Hampton’s nights, while handbags were constructed with iPhone-sized pockets. (“[Given] the amount of lost phones in our office, finally I said, ‘No, build it in.’”) Ostrich feathers were embroidered onto cocktail dresses, pointing up so that they floated when the wearer walks — or dances. Ever the salesman, the designer declared a matte-black python sleeveless trench his pragmatic moment, if not for the price, but for its usability. (Over a dress, a sweater, a pair of trousers, you get the gist.) “I do think people want to be turned on,” he said. “But at the same time they want to wear it over and over.”
Indeed, the least pragmatic element of the collection might have been the proliferation of pink, which, despite being named a Pantone colour of the year, is still the most polarising colour on the spectrum. (It can look too babyish, or too old-fashioned.) To keep it modern, he brought in tomboy silhouettes and added a sliver of skin here, a slinky silhouette there. “Sneaky sexy,” he said. And for the most part, he found the balance needed to make it work. Call it Kors' magic touch. Nothing funny about that.