"My nickname when I was a child was chuckles" – Michael Kors
In conversation with the designer
H e's one of the few designers that has conquered the fashion department (clothing, accessories, fragrances and watches) with accuracy and acumen. Now, in an exclusive interview with Buro 24/7 Middle East, Michael Kors discusses why human emotion, the jet set of the 60s and 70s as well as his opinion on the new direction in fashion is all culminating in the next chapter of his all-American story...
What was the inspiration behind your parazzi inspired shoot for jet set six featuring Lily Adlrdige?
We shot our Spring campaign in Los Angeles, so for Jet Set 6 we thought it would be fun to play with the whole movie star mania of Hollywood. I've always been inspired by paparazzi images from the 60s and 70s of the original jet set, people like Ali MacGraw, Jackie Onassis and Robert Redford, so it was a natural direction for us. Lily is from LA and she captured the whole attitude of a camera-shy celebrity perfectly!
Can you describe your inspiration for the Spring '16 collection and how you came to focus on "desert flowers"?
The collection has the colours and blooms of desert flowers in it, but my primary inspiration was the idea of "earthy elegance". I was thinking about artistic women like Elsa Peretti and Georgia O'Keefe, women who embody this great balance between a strong, natural sensibility and enormous refinement. The flowers and the palette are very American Southwest — the colours you find in the desert in New Mexico and Arizona.
You have worked with the best in the business — Mario Testino, Anna Wintour, Miroslava Duma, Kate Hudson, Gigi Hadid — who haven't you worked with yet that is on your list and why?
I'm fortunate in that I've worked with incredible people during my career, and continue to look for the best talent every time I have a new campaign to shoot or project to do. I don't have a list, but I always keep my eyes open for new talent, and I make it a point to work with them when I can.
Michael Kors is one of the most successful American fashion brands on the market. How do you do it?
I stay curious and I stay connected to my customer. I've always tried to understand how my customers live, so I can give them clothes and accessories that make them look and feel like their best selves while fitting easily into their busy lives.
Empathy is an important quality in a designer, I think.
Your FW16 show was a highlight on the NYFW calendar, as always. However, this year a lot of attention was brought to the dynamics of presenting a show for consumers vs. industry. What is your opinion on the new direction fashion is seemingly taking?
I think the world is changing, and fashion needs to change with it. I've been talking about this for a while. The internet and social media have made everything much faster. And people shop differently now too. They see something on the runway and they want it right away — they don't want to wait six months! That said, some things can't be done quickly, like a hand-embroidered dress or a hand-knit sweater. So every brand is working to find their own way to address this, and I think that's good. We all need to find what works for our customers and for the kind of fashion we want to create.
What is one thing people don't know about you?
That my nickname when I was a child was chuckles.