Byline: Lisa Bertagnoli

About 450 fans of Michael Kors — and of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art — turned out Sept. 7 for “An Evening of Fashion and Art,” a show on the 28 shop designer floor at Marshall Field’s.
The show, featuring fashions by Kors and a dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck, raised $375,000 for the museum’s Robert B. and Beatrice C. Mayer Education Center and its arts program.
Marshall Field’s currently sponsors free Tuesdays at the museum and in January 1999 had donated a brass Alexander Calder mobile to the institution.
Kors’ city-wise clothes — as well as the stark interior of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the dinner tables set with crisp white linen and silver chargers — helped to make the sultry evening more palatable.
All told, the turnout was “phenomenal,” said Sally Meyers Kovler, chair of the museum’s board of trustees.
“We sold out and had to turn people away,” she said. In part the sell-out was due to the fact that one of the museum’s galleries wasn’t available for seating.
“The energy was great,” Kovler added. “Guests felt positive about the museum and the relationship with Field’s.”
A chatty Kors contributed to the energy at the event, she said. Arriving an hour before it officially got underway, he mingled with the trustees and guests before heading backstage to greet the models and attend to the show. In one instance, the designer approached one of Kovler’s friends, a Kors collector who wore a 10-year-old black two-piece outfit that Kors had designed. He commented approvingly on her choice and inquired as to which other treasures of his she had in her closet.
“It was nice to have (a designer) who was so verbal and willing to communicate,” Kovler said.
The clothes, worn by models done up in slicked-back chignons and bright-red lipstick, communicated class and city-wise style.
Most of the clothes drew from a subtle palette of black, white, gray, brown and beige, with the occasional touch of red, royal blue and fuchsia thrown in for flash. Marabou and fur trim luxuriated on coats, jackets and mules. Perilously high heels added the final urban touch.
The Kors presentation followed a show last year by Donna Karan, which likewise featured wearable, classic pieces.
Next year, however, Kovler said, she is thinking of stepping out a bit — with help from Field’s, of course, which chooses the designer.
“These clothes are wonderful for our constituents,” she said of Kors’ showing. “But it might be fun to try someone whose designs are different.”

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