with contributions from Jean E. Palmieri
 on September 13, 2017

“Sittin’ on the dock of the bay…wastin’ time.”

When the amazing Sara Bareilles opened the Michael Kors Collection show with Otis Redding’s soulful anthem about not having much to do, point taken: no stuffy-chic fare here. Kors’ approach to spring was all about making casual work for city life.

“Remember when you would never have seen a girl wearing flip-flops or cutoffs in New York or London or any major city in the world?” Kors said during a preview. “The reality is that that is not reality anymore. So how do you heighten that attitude of easiness to a way that works in a city?”

Kors addressed another pressing reality, as well — the long-standing issue of diversity (or lack thereof) on the runway. He reenlisted Ashley Graham, as well as, from the 35-plus set; Maggie Rizer; Kirsty Hume, and Carolyn Murphy. They looked fabulous — and right at home rather than like a novelty act.

First out, Murphy appeared sun-kissed and at ease in a pink and white sweatshirt passing for a dress. This set the tone for a collection packed with covetable clothes and lovely to boot, even if it felt a tad safe, It also introduced several key motifs: big prints, pastels and the aforementioned flip-flops. Kors’ favorites offered a significant upgrade on drugstore-variety rubber; they were croc. The color story played out in breezy layers — trenchcoats, dresses, Bermudas, indulgent cozy cashmeres and big shirts worn in various combinations, all of the elements crossing easily from day into evening. Case in point: a long blue shirt, front-knotted and shirttails out in back, over ombré-sequined pajama pants.  

Still, Kors and his customers will always love a good neutral. He limited his men’s wear to that range, the urban-beachy attitude translated into flowy trenchcoats, roomy shorts, boxy blazers and a head-turning double-breasted white tonal suit. For women, the fluid layering, he said, “took the gray of Wall Street” and softened black and white with a big, leafy print.

Speaking of big, Kors is over the mini bag, at least now. He preferred the supersize-me variety — woven leather tote, tie-dyed messenger, raffia shoulder sack. Because there’s nothing relaxed about having to cram.

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