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NEW YORK — Men’s is having a moment at Michael Kors.
This story first appeared in the January 30, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Not only will men’s wear have its own dedicated space at the designer’s soon-to-open SoHo store here, but the brand recently opened a dedicated men’s accessories shop at Macy’s Herald Square as well.
“There’s a lot of fire in that area,” Kors said during a presentation of his fall men’s wear collection. The 500-square-foot Macy’s shop on the main floor offers Kors’ men’s bags and leather accessories and has performed strongly since opening in early November, he said.
Kors said that after construction delays, the SoHo store now has an official opening date of late August. The store, at 520 Broadway, will be the largest Michael Kors store in the world, with 22,000 square feet of total space. Men’s will get 2,500 square feet of that space and its own floor. This will mark the first Michael Kors store to feature a full men’s shop devoted to the full range of Michael Kors men’s apparel, bags, footwear, watches, small leather goods, eyewear, belts, underwear and fragrance.
“And this is the collection that we’ll open the store with,” Kors said with a flourish.
Kors described his collection as Big Sur meets Big City, a blend of “East Coast urbane polish and relaxed West Coast ease” with a little John F. Kennedy Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal thrown in for good measure. For fall, that translates into a soft and easy array of deluxe sportswear and clothing that ranged from three-button slouch jackets and “bathrobe cardigans” to tailored peacoats and down parkas.
“There are no waistbands in any of the pants,” the designer said of the bottoms, all of which were track or sweatpants in a slim silhouette. “It’s not M.C. Hammer,” he said with a laugh. Many of the pants were double-face with cotton on the inside and cashmere on the outside.
Jackets were elongated, and sweaters were either mohair or alpaca. “They look heavy, but they’re actually light,” Kors said. Lengthening the jackets will make men look taller and thinner. “Every guy wants to look taller,” he said. “And I’ve never met a man who doesn’t want a smaller waist.”
In terms of clothing, the designer offered up his interpretation of jersey tailoring in traditional fabrics such as tonal pinstripes and glen plaids, many with crinkled finishes and slouchy, unconstructed silhouettes.
“How do we make Wall Street laid back?” he asked. “This is the way for a guy to have a relaxed attitude but still be believable in the city.”
One jacket in particular was so soft that it felt like a sweater. “We knocked the stuffing out of it. It’s got a sleeve head, but no padding. It feels like a cardigan,” he said. “This is a suit that feels like sweats.”
The outerwear was a standout of the collection and included a chocolate suede fur-trimmed anorak and a cotton poplin “sleeping bag” coat, shown with double-face cashmere sweatshirts and sweatpants. “The weather bit everybody in the butt this year,” Kors said. “Everything had gotten so lightened up, but you’re not wearing a transitional jacket in this [bitterly cold weather]. And no one has cool outerwear in their closet.”
Other key pieces included a laser-cut double-face jersey reefer coat shown with a black crinkle flannel track pant and mohair pullover and a black plongé leather pleated trouser worn with a padded gabardine anorak.
“Men’s wear swings to one extreme or the other,” Kors said philosophically. “Casual Friday is ridiculous or everybody is dressed up. If you’re 20, you look cool dressed up, but if you’re over 30 and look too polished, you look old.”
Kors addressed the question of New York getting a dedicated men’s fashion week, an idea that continues to gain steam. The designer said he would support the idea because the timing in late January and mid-July is better than February and September for the men’s market. But it’s unlikely he would stage a runway show for men.
“There’s something personal about getting up close,” he said. “And the minute it gets to a runway, you’re tempted to do some high jinks. I don’t want to show something I won’t produce. I want people to wear the clothes I show.”