Michael Kors is widely known and celebrated for his classic American jet setting style. Given the current economic climate, I was curious to see how ready-to-wear designers would teeter across that fine tightrope with key investment pieces on one end and extraneous impulse purchases on the other. “My guys and girls, they’re not giving up luxury, they just want the luxury to be something that’s pragmatic luxury, right now!” said Michael Kors backstage. Ushering out 72 looks to a medley of New Order and Coldplay, Mr. Kors certainly did not cut any corners. The award-winning designer presented his Fall 2009 Collection with an edgier aesthetic, abandoning the Americana 1950’s housewife from recent collections for a more straightforward approach that felt modern and progressive without trying too hard. The Michael Kors woman is always strong, confident, and self-assured, but this season she also felt dramatic, more of a risk-taker who is adventurous, bold, and exciting!
Most of us were anticipating a somewhat scaled-back presentation, which put more focus on the design construction. The program notes foretold a fashion-forward direction of neo-classics that were tailored, sleek, and sexy. Architectural seaming, asymmetry, sculptural details, slashed dresses, lean trousers, dramatic necklines, and graphic bareness combined to create a streamlined silhouette. Neutral favorites black, white, charcoal, camel, and olive were punctuated with neon pink, safety orange, and acid green. “The world feels quite heavy and serious now… to have that bold flash of neon, it was refreshing to see that,” said Tony Award®-winning actress Jane Krakowski. Classic patterns in herringbone, tweed, chalk stripe, and hunting check helped to balance the electric volts of color. Finishing accents like the sculptural heel, a structured clutch, oversized goggles, and sleek belts unmasked fervent mettle with urban dressing for the savvy 21st century recessionista in search of inimitable elements.
I must say that I absolutely loved the direction for this runway presentation. From pulling the hair back into a high chignon with strong eye make-up to the dichotomy of wardrobe staples (trench coats, cardigans, sheath dresses, and jumpsuits) played against more contemporary adaptations (bubble skirts, cigarette trousers, sculpted jackets, and scissor skirts.) There were so many high notes and this collection never missed a beat. My favorite looks included: the black shredded fox sleeveless coat with black stretch gabardine jumpsuit; a black origami sweater paired with a black felted wool jersey asymmetrical skirt; the black plonge strapless sheath; a charcoal donegal felt bubble dress; the hunting check pressed wool strapless scissor sheath; a blond shredded fox coat with a camel cashmere dress; and the black plonge scissor sheath.
The theme backstage was “Tough Luxe”. Models were directed to look powerful, sexy, smart, and confident. When the going gets tough, the tough get’s tougher. Be strong and have a great show! Michael Kors elaborated further, “This is someone that is smart and sexy and walks into the room with a sense of bravado and power, which now if clothes can help you achieve that—how fantastic!” Although there were varying inspirations, shapes, and color palettes for their Fall 2009 runway presentations, designers did share one common theme—delivering strong, empowering collections that featured special pieces overflowing with personality, dramatic flair, and unflappable aplomb. This season innovative designs and avant-garde silhouettes added an architectural interest and emphasis with an underlying foundation of potency, fortitude, and distinction. Michael Kors celebrates the diversity of New York City, the woman in fishnets, with green hair stepping out of a town car, dripping in jewels. The designer’s secret to success is to “be smart and keep your eye on whom you’re dressing.”
“I find this idea of fast-fashion preposterous,” Mr. Kors said candidly. “Who has the money or time to make such expensive mistakes?” (Note: To all of you women with 200 pairs of shoes, as opposed to a more edited selection of 20 in your closet.) This is the moment for investing in smart purchases that will stand the test of time. Another of my greatest fashion frustrations is when I see so many women wearing the same outfit; it almost becomes a uniform (and that’s SO BORING!) I’m always a little disappointed by that—the ubiquitous cropped jacket atop skinny pants and flats—it drives me crazy!!! Fashion allows a woman to express her creativity and individuality. Do we really all need to look alike? I nodded along in agreement as Michael Kors echoed this sentiment, “The world has become so homogenized. I love things that feel like nothing else you can find anywhere else in the world. I’m a little ADD, so I like to see everything first.” Mr. Kors, you took the words right out of my mouth!
Images provided courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Newsgroup.
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