Find this interview by Cinzia Malvini in the latest issue of Book Woman (N.17).
“First of all, femininity,” says Michael Kors. The appointment for our interview is at 8:30 in the morning at the Varick Street studios, the American designer’s favourite place to present his collections during the New York Fashion Week. I get there almost half an hour early, with the Americans you never know so it’s always best to be more efficient than them. Beautiful girls well-dressed in black are busying around nervously at the quick pace with strictly white sneakers or slower with the necessary 12 centimetres heel that disappears into big bags a second after the end of the show. Earphones, coffee, polite or formal smiles, the palpitation of the parade about to start, in the air. Michael Kors is the proud American designer, today a global brand thanks to a style able to combine glamour, sensuality, sport: chic as the essential element, feminine beauty as the manifesto. “I always thought that women’s clothing is also a very strong weapon to better express one’s character. The force of beauty is what a dress helps to highlight. And this is also the meaning of my work,” he says.
What is the starting point of your collections? Is there always a common thread tying everything?
Optimism combined with the certainty that a well-dressed and well-groomed woman can feel even more protected. I am a lover of luxury and glamour that seems to belong to the golden age, but this does remove me from reality. I design clothes for women who go out and go to work, and for celebrities who obviously have a very different and more complex life in other ways. The thread that joins these two realities is comfort and chic; I think that to feel confident you should be comfortable, feel good in what you are wearing, whether it be an evening dress or a simple white T-shirt and jeans. But the T-shirt must be absolute white!
What is the formula of your style’s feminine sensuality?
Sensuality is confidence. Not necessarily wearing a tight dress and stiletto heel shoes. A woman can be extraordinarily sexy and feminine with loose trousers and a men’s sweater, like her boyfriend’s. The important thing is to know what to underline, not only of her appearance, but also of her character. I help women discover their best side, from both points of view.
How would you define your spring collection?
Intimately elegant, romantic, played on combinations of items that give offer that sartorial chic effect, at a glance. I wanted ruches, a super feminine symbol, I chose floral prints that are not too mushy, white and blue shades, sandy shades. I put even more emphasis on the attitude of sensual dresses that hug you like friends. Garments that women love living in.
You are acknowledged like a great interpreter of American fashion, pragmatic, but also very ladylike. A style that photographs, in some ways, New York where you live and work and where your fashion has grown exponentially. How important is this city for you?
A great value. The collection you are about to see (F/W 2017-18, editor’s note) is dedicated to life in a big city, a fast metropolis like New York, the fastest city in the world, where people move around endlessly between Uptown and Downtown, but still want to be chic in a special and personal way. This is also the great diversity of faces and female types we see on the streets: it is just incredible how by just standing at a subway stop in New York we can notice how different are those people who live here. And how many different female types we recognise in the city streets. Ultimately, the streets in New York are really the biggest catwalk in the world. I wanted to bring this concept to my fashion show, a kind of United Nations’ fashion even for the heterogeneous casting: there are models of different ages and sizes, very young girls, but we also have seven mothers on the catwalk. And then our historical friends like Amber Valletta. I am happy with this choice.
What do you look at, what strikes you of a woman on the street?
The way she moves, the movement of the pleats of a skirt or fringe. I have added an abundance of these in this collection because I reckon they are an extraordinary weapon of seduction, just like a gust of wind that captures the summer white shirt that seems to belong to a tomboy. In both cases, you can either wear boots with high heels or flat sandals. It doesn’t matter if you are thin or curvy, I love dressing different types of women and give them a unique, unmistakable style. This is my job.