Can a world in discord find harmony in fashion? Probably not, but damn it, fashion’s forever optimist Michael Kors is going to try. “There’s got to be a commonality,” Kors said while showing his resort collection in a presentation/installation on Tuesday. He thus worked a dichotomy of polish and edge, the sartorial equivalent of his memories of when “you’d walk down Kings Road in the Eighties and you’d have all the Sloane Rangers on the street and then the punks and they’d be together [London seems much on his mind after the opening of his store last month], and you’d go to Mr. Chow’s [in New York] and you’d see Basquiat and every one from downtown mixed in. There’s got to be a commonality.”
At the same time, Kors noted that, as applied to this fashion season, the term “resort” is outdated to the point of silly, and that, rather than clothes for those extended January cruises once taken by tony ladies but no more, this was a lineup of “just new stuff that you want that makes sense for your closet and that’s investment oriented.”
The designer dubbed it all “Punk Avenue.” It started with a major emphasis on tailoring, using elegant men’s wear fabrics with an emphasis on glen plaids and checks cut with austere precision yet incorporating feminine tropes in peplums and ruffles, the latter adding flourish to shoulders and the closures of coats and jackets. The yin-yang showed up as well as a weskit and trousers with a shirt softened by girlish puffed sleeves and leather biker jackets with discordant ruffled trim.
Conversely, when his starting point was softer, Kors tweaked for edge. Sleeves with an exaggerated square shoulder punctuated a three-dot silk shirtdress with pleated skirt; cozy Aran knits were toughened up with incongruous cone studs. That hardware carried through the collection particularly on handbags and shoes. Speaking of which, the bags looked great — a diverse array of shapes from minis to ample carryalls, often in feisty striped or dotted leathers.
The lineup offered plenty of the kind of good-looking, investment caliber fashion of which Kors spoke, and surely his devotees will find essential pieces to love. But overall, the arch attitude lacked subtlety. One of Kors’ most alluring signatures is the way he brilliantly infuses luxe sophistication with ease, and here the second part of that equation got short shrift.