Had all gone according to plan, Michael Kors would’ve shown his spring collection in person, one of several designers representing a sort of New York Fashion Week part two a month after part one wrapped. But nothing in 2020 has been predictable or easy, and with COVID-19 cases creeping back up in the city, Kors and his team opted for a Zoom call yesterday. There’s also a film, made by Haley Elizabeth Anderson, shot in a New York Restoration Project community garden eight blocks from where Kors’s grandfather grew up in the Bronx and starring American Idol winner Samantha Diaz, that puts the clothes in motion.
“Thirty-nine years into my career, this is definitely a first,” Kors said on Vogue’s Zoom call. The lockdown changed everything about the way he conducts business. Closed factories in Italy meant he handled his fittings remotely; shuttered shops meant he did virtual trunk shows. The mid-October release date was chosen not to distract from the deliveries of his fall collection, and to shorten the length of time between this presentation and the arrival of the new clothes in stores. The plan is to show just twice a year, rather than the four times that up until now have been the industry standard.
As for the new collection itself, Kors called it confidence-building. “You put it on and it makes you feel great about yourself,” he said. He’s has never designed fussy clothes, but he really emphasized simplicity here: showing mostly monochrome looks, accessorizing day and evening clothes with flat sandals, and embracing ease with an array of asymmetrical knits, pareo-style wrap skirts, and one very Lisa Taylor as shot by Helmut Newton printed dress in organic crepe de chine. Look one is white pantsuit, minimal in cut and spirit, worn with a linen gauze nightshirt. Kors said that he suggested it to one of his clients for her wedding day, and that she took him up on it.
That’s not to say the clothes were entirely spare. In fact, Kors talked a lot about the importance of the hand. A mini shift embroidered all over in tiny little beads was modeled on a dress the editor of this magazine wore to a party in 1991; “we all did the limbo,” Kors remembered. He said he didn’t want anything to look “machine-made,” but the idea that we shouldn’t save special occasion clothes for special occasions also resonated with him. No one knows when we’ll be able to count on those again; in the meantime, why not have some fun?
Photography: Courtesy – Michael Kors