For his answer to the great recession quandary, Michael Kors came down firmly on the side of elegant practicality over indulgence. “Investment pieces don’t have to be boring,” he said. “They can be sexy.”
And so his were, beginning with the series of black looks that opened the show — wool satin trenchcoat, jersey sheath, sweater and bubble skirt. These gave way to herringbones, tony tweeds — an organza suit and a curvy, big-collared Donegal coat looked fab — and plenty of the lush cashmere meltons Kors loves, the shapes almost all rooted in the classics. While once the zip might have come in peppy prints or glitzy add-ons, here the details came via construction, whether architectural seaming, politely unexpected cutouts or, Kors’ favorite motif, origami folds that extended shoulders and gave controlled volume to skirts and dresses. Yet appealing though the results often were, at times they felt downright un-Korsian. Not that the clothes were a bit sober — sobriety seldom comes in so sexy a package. But Kors dug in his investment heels a bit too authoritatively, much like a frugal parent insisting the kids save three-quarters of their allowance. Smart, yes, far-sighted, for sure — and in this case, plenty chic — just not much fun. Happily, Kors caved on the remaining 25 percent or so, with flashy neon fur coats and trapper hats. Because some girls will have to transition to the new austerity.
Kors beefed up the men’s portion of the show (see men’s images) and focused on his commercial strengths: impeccably tailored staples, expensive-looking fabrics and sumptuous cashmere knits. In knitwear, he took more liberty to experiment, adding volume with an oversize cowl or a dolman sleeve and, of course, unleashing those highlighter-pen colors. Overall, the men’s styling showed increased sophistication and freedom from its past overreliance on accessories.