“I’m a little over edge, over nastiness,” Michael Kors said during apreview, as if nasty land were ever his turf in the first place. Forspring, fashion’s most flagrant card-carrying optimist (just becausethings really go your way sometimes doesn’t make you less of anoptimist) is feeling for romance. Wisely, he made it neither cloying norkitsch, instead channeling his inclinations through well-consideredcounterpoints. “I got intrigued by the idea of convergence,” he said.“Forties and Seventies. Romantic but tailored. Casual but polished. Allthat yin and yang.” He made a significant omission in the litany —polished but plenty sexy — which added up to the chicest ofpalpitations.

Along the way, Kors worked ample references, from Americanprairie style to the diva-ready sportswear for which he’s known — thinkLauren Hutton befriending Barbara Stanwyck, the former in a graysweatshirt and trousers, a golden sable “ring” wrapping her shoulders;the latter in a divine full-skirted floral dress. A key juxtaposition —and a brilliant move — was to jettison certain natural motifs beyondtheir expected crunchy-granola habitat: hemp embroidery on a linenpencil skirt; lowly chambray repurposed into a glorious appliquéd lacedress.

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