Michael Kors believes in the power of positive thinking. “The world is upside down, and I say, kill them with kindness, spirit, joy and charm,” he said during a preview. It’s more than a shtick, it’s a deeply held philosophy.
So, too, is knowing his customer. Kors is old-school in that respect; he still believes in client events — yes, trunk shows. “I just did a slew of them,” he said. “Women want joyous, wonderful things that make them smile, but at the same time are not so precious that they put them away in the closet. You have to take the stuffing out of what’s indulgent.”
For spring, Kors unstuffed and then some. After several seasons at Spring Studios, he relocated all the way south to Pier 17, showing in a vast space where numerous huge canvases of “nonspecific” resort-y locales sent an advance message of sun, fun and happiness. Lest the point be missed, he came up with a logo for sweats and bags heralding the “MK Beach Club.”
The clothes were ebullient with color and pattern — florals, beach scenics, stripes, dots, plaids, mélange knits — sometimes worn in combination. What didn’t explode with color came in optic white with flowery surface texture — leather lace, eyelet, matelassé. Kors worked these into countless looks — ruffled dresses, shirtdresses, retro shifts, floppy-hatted hippie fare, fringed skirts, straight skirts, elevated sweats and on and on, a big, breezy, something-for-everybody romp.
As for the men, while they didn’t get equal time, they exuded the same sporty attitude as the women in looks featuring surf sweaters, baja pullovers, cashmere bike shorts and cargo track pants. A few more dressed-up pieces included a black cotton blazer, a crushed cotton trench and a suit with short-shorts.
Did it all live up to Kors’ promise of spirit, joy and charm? You bet. Yet one came away thinking that broad diversity on the runway is best limited to the casting — models of various ethnicities, ages and body types. In that respect, Kors is a leader. His collection, though, would have benefited from a little less universality. With so many items and silhouettes, it started to feel as if Kors were checking various merch boxes — embellished jeans, check; swimsuit, check. Along the way the collection sacrificed some of the distinctive tony allure that typically marks Kors’ work.