Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Michael Kors: California dreaming

Quintessentially Kors — relaxed, elegant and luxurious fabrics.

Quintessentially Kors — relaxed, elegant and luxurious fabrics.

For New York Fashion Week, Michael Kors sent out a Fall collection which had coastal vibes and a city polish.

THE temperature outside may have been freezing, but inside, it was heating up as an assortment of people and media members were milling backstage. And we weren’t even in the section where the models were getting ready!

I was waiting for a quick interview with Michael Kors, the hugely successful American designer who recently joined the ranks of the billionaires.

When we met up, the polished and affable Kors commented that his collection this season was a hybrid between the big city and Big Sur (a region in the Central Coast of California).

“We’re talking about that laidback attitude of Northern California and that of a big city in the world like Kuala Lumpur, New York, doesn’t matter,” he explained.

“I am a New Yorker, a big city boy, I spend most of my time in big cities but the idea is about when you’re in a big city and you want to recharge your batteries, and you want nature. So we go to Big Sur where there’s no cell reception, no Wi-Fi and suddenly, you reconnect. I think it’s something that someone who lives in a big city in the world needs, so if we can get that out of our clothes, that’s perfect.”

Bulky handknit sweaters worn with slouchy pants.
Bulky handknit sweaters worn with slouchy pants.

After the interview, we had a look at the models getting ready, said hello to supermodel Karlie Kloss, before proceeding to the seating area. A Michael Kors show is high on the celebrity factor and this one had Blake Lively, Frieda Pinto and Michael Douglas as well as Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue and Anna Dello Russo, editor-at-large of Vogue Japan amongst the audience.

Kors presented a collection which relayed city slickness and a laidback air. The song chosen for the runway show was California Dreaming, which set off the mood and clothes perfectly.

There was plenty of Americana on display with suede fringes and gorgeous bulky knitwear. The fringed skirts and bags, and long knit scarves with tassels, were all great pieces to incorporate into a winter wardrobe.

Kors makes amazing outerwear, and his trenchcoats and fabulous coats are all must-haves. Looking at the flowy dresses and peasant blouses, it was a collection that had movement, which was essentially what Kors wanted to achieve.

“We concentrated on the idea of yin and yang, romanticism, a lot of softer dresses and skirts, chiffon, things that catch the wind, mixed with something that looks like you borrowed from the boys. So it might be a great tailored coat over a romantic dress, a romantic skirt, just things that move, a lot of longer silhouettes in the collection, transparency and movement.”

Actress Blake Lively and Michael Kors backstage at the Michael Kors fashion show.
Actress Blake Lively and Michael Kors backstage at the Michael Kors fashion show.

Kors added that this particular collection was very feminine and all about texture.

“The big thing in the collection is texture, it’s full of texture and handwork, a lot of hand embroidery, fringe, hand-knitting, things you want to touch. In fact, we did a lot of the embroidery and all of the embellishment, we did it for the day rather than night time, because the reality is, why not enjoy all this beautiful luxury in the day instead of having to wait for a special occasion?”

His clothes looked luxurious, and since it was a fall collection, there was plenty of fur. Cashmere, mohair, alpaca, shearling ... materials that you want to touch and stroke. There were even cashmere sweatpants!

Evening wear was transparent and ethereal with lots of semi-sheer pieces. Slip dresses worn with tailored coats, heavy knits with skirts ... this was the yin and yang that Kors spoke of, offering a balance between tailored aesthetics and flowing silhouettes, a juxtaposition of masculinity and femininity.

Kors’ designs are the kind of pieces that transcend seasons, classic pieces which you can keep as wardrobe staples. They give the idea of luxury as being an every day kind of feel.

According to Kors, he chose to focus on a neutral palette to show off the handwork and texture: “Rather than just walking in the room in a bright yellow coat, there’s this kind of unpeeling, like an onion, so when you look at it, you’d think, ‘Oh, look at the embroidery on the coat, look at the texture on the skirt, look at the python fringe, look at the buckle of the belt.’ The neutrals let you focus on that.”

And what are the key pieces we should have?

Can't get any more luxurious than cashmere sweats worn with fur.
Can’t get any more luxurious than cashmere sweats worn with fur.

“I think this season, you definitely want to have a softer blouse, a little bit romantic, maybe a modern peasant blouse, definitely a skirt or a dress which has some movement that matches the wind and moves when you walk. It’s also an amazing season for fabulous handknit sweaters and certainly, today you need one!”

The thing about Kors is that his designs always have an air of relaxed elegance about it. Quintessentially American, it gives that easy flow of luxury. His clothes don’t shout and are never loud. They are beautifully made with attention to detail.

The Kors women are those who wear beautiful and expensive clothes all the time, not just for special occasions. They wear it almost unconsciously, with an ease and nonchalance of those who understand that luxury is a way of life...

Kors has certainly given a collection that speaks to them.

A mix of the casual and elegant.
A mix of the casual and elegant.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , michael kors , autumn winter 2014 , nyfw , fashion


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