Classic menswear-style tailoring, sweeping coats, knit dressing, the clash of sleek and raw, chocolate brown as the new black.…This is a Michael Kors season.
“What we show we make and people wear,” the designer said during a preview. “The revolution shouldn’t be real clothes.”
And yet, at least this New York Fashion Week, it has been, as Proenza Schouler, Brandon Maxwell, Gabriela Hearst, Tibi and more have brought back the seemingly radical concept of timeless clothes to cherish, to style and to wear.
Kors took inspiration from O.G. influencers, including feminist trailblazer Gloria Steinem, who received a round of applause from Molly Ringwald as she headed to her seat at the Wednesday morning show.
“Influencer has taken on a whole new meaning, but used to be we’d talk about them as powerful women who were never afraid of expressing themselves with fashion, whether it was Jane Fonda or Gloria Steinem, who I met in 1985 when we did a story headlined, ‘Smart women wear short skirts,'” Kors said.
And short shorts. The opening look, a taupe wool overcoat and sweater over chocolate brown suede shorts and boots, with a hip-hugging wide belt reissued from Kors’ 2004 collection, was all Gloria in her ’70s urban bohemian glory.
“Today, we have generations of women who are still trying to show their power, their strength, their intelligence, but at the same time are not afraid of fashion, and it runs the gamut from Amanda Gorman to Nancy Pelosi to Serena Williams,” Kors said.
The designer gave them the tools, with plenty of impeccably tailored coats and some of the best shearlings of the week, one in ivory pieced together from Mongolian sheep hides.
“I’m a big believer in a statement coat,” he said, acknowledging that a wardrobe of coats does present its travel challenges. “You need a coat bag or a DHL number,” Kors deadpanned.
Tailoring was made to move, with cape sleeves, slashed skirts and flared pants, and chocolate brown fringed dresses added another bohemian element.
Kors elevated knit dressing, on a chocolate brown chiffon-jersey-cashmere cold shoulder turtleneck dress and on a chic two-piece taupe cashmere set with flared pants and hip slung belt.
“I’m into tonal because at the end of the day, it makes everyone feel confident because they know they’re putting the right thing on. It’s easier to get dressed.”
For evening, it was all about the modern mermaid, as he calls it, in sequin embroidered jersey bodysuits and tailored trousers, keyhole dresses, flared jumpsuits or fishtail gowns in daytime colors of chocolate or taupe. “Someone needs to wear this to the Oscars,” Kors said of a sequin jumpsuit under a matching camel coat.
He could be onto something.
It was interesting at the Critics Choice Awards last month to see Hollywood starting to gravitate toward more modern and minimalist eveningwear, with Cate Blanchett wearing a Max Mara taupe linen shirt and maxiskirt and Busy Philipps a gray flannel scoop neck gown by St. John. Perhaps it will be a kind of wearable revolution.
“[Barbra] Streisand won her first Oscar in pants. Lauren Hutton killed the Oscars in shorts….Sharon Stone wore a white shirt and skirt and it was one of the most memorable looks of all time,” Kors said, advising stars to get out of their comfort zone. “Different doesn’t mean it has to be ridiculous; there’s different and special that’s chic, soigné, sophisticated and cool.”