“Quintessential American sportswear,” Michael Kors wrote in his program notes. So how did he open his show? With Abbey Lee Kershaw in a gigantic coyote vest over a skimpy cashmere bodysuit and scrunched-down boots. But then, for Kors, opulence and womanly sensuality (didn’t Frankie Rayder and Angela Lindvall look divine?) are as basic as gray flannel.
That editorial entrance set the tone of relaxed luxury, which, once established, underscored Kors’ terrific dissertation on pragmatic chic. “This is a real wardrobe,” the designer said before his show. “I’m tired of people wearing evening clothes to work.” Since sartorial sparkle is pretty much limited to the fashion-employed anyway (find the litigator who has gone before the court decked in daytime paillettes), Kors will surely discover of like mind legions of working women. Make that successful working women, eager to arrive at the office, toss off the cross fox anorak and hunker down to work in tony cashmere sportif.
Abbey’s opening ensemble aside, Kors put a major focus on pants, pleated and wrap-front trousers, track pants, shorts, usually low-slug and relaxed. He showed these with sleek shirts or any number of knits, most often lean. When he amped up the proportion it was in a loose ribbed pullover or big, mohair cowl-necked dress.
In keeping with a major direction in New York this fall, Kors all but shunned color in favor of classic winter neutrals, mostly camels and grays. But he kept them plenty interesting, for example, tweaking a barley balmacaan with dark leather sleeves. Nor did his zest for real daywear force him to abandon all that shines by light of day. In the dead of winter, what better way to beat the Monday morning blues than in a big, glistening silver storm coat and bigger silver fox hood?
Kors possesses an infallible formula for distinctive men’s sportswear — cashmere plus camel plus fur. He ventures away from it only to make another strong return like this Madison Avenue-meets-Aspen whirl. This time he incorporated crinkled flannel, aviator coats and earthy colors like loden and tobacco. This was the luxurious, brand-appropriate way to do the ubiquitous alpine trend. After all, not everyone who goes up a mountain has to chop wood.