KORS OFF THE CUFF: These days, there’s very little that the public doesn’t know about Michael Kors.
The designer-turned-“Project Runway” star-turned-fashion-mogul has been in and out of the spotlight since the age of four when he did side gigs as a child model.
This story first appeared in the June 26, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
But cracking through his well-publicized and outsized persona was Glenda Bailey’s task on Tuesday night when the editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar interviewed the designer for an hour.
Bailey had her jokester hat on, as she came to the stage before a packed auditorium at Hearst Tower in Midtown Manhattan.
“I was telling Michael, he always makes me feel like Beyoncé because everywhere I go with him, it’s always sold out,” she said.
“I thought when you’re with me, your hair blew,” Kors said back with a smile.
After going through Kors’ résumé, which included an early rise to prominence when the designer sold his first collection to Bergdorf Goodman at age 21, the editor stopped at the bankruptcy of his brand in 1993.
“Sometimes things are not in your control,” Kors responded to Bailey’s question about how he felt during that period. “You can control what you design.”
Admitting to a loss of confidence at the time, the designer noted that he pushed on, disregarding advice to make cocktail dresses, and instead he launched a lower-priced line soon after.
“If there’s a question and the ground is moving, more than ever you have to stand your ground and be who you are,” he said. “Within eight months [of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection] we were back full steam.”
The duo then tackled Kors’ most recent coup, the day his namesake company, Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., went public in 2011. Calling the day he rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange his “proudest moment,” Kors mused that he never set out for such an endeavor.
A lighter moment came when Bailey asked Kors to recount a meeting with power couple Ralph and Ricky Lauren while on vacation at the beach.
“Ralph wears a racy swimsuit. Together they [Ralph and Ricky] are the size of my leg,” he said. “I’m in swim trunks down to here like a Victorian lady.”
Bailey offered: “I always live in fear of meeting my competitors in my underwear. It’s not a nice view.”
The editor pivoted and wrapped up the interview with perhaps her best question.
“If you were to meet you at a party, what would you think?” she asked.
With a twisted face, Kors whined: “Shut up!”