“Swipe, swipe, swipe!” Michael Kors declared, halfway through our interview on the morning of Valentine’s Day. I froze abruptly, wondering for a split second if he had sussed I’d been on Tinder the night before—as one would on Valentine’s eve. Thankfully, he meant something entirely different. “We’re living in a ‘swipe’ world where we’re so easily bored, and ‘swipe’ to the next thing. And as far as getting dressed is concerned, there’s not one way to look!” He’s got a point. One day fashion is all about mini skirts and stilettos, and the next it’s bum bags and orthopaedic sneakers. Leopard print, to maximalist-florals, and back to leopard print again. Blame it on social media if you will; the onslaught of information that has been made available right at your fingertips. Visually, cognitively, and perhaps even emotionally, today’s generation has never lived at a faster rate.
Thankfully for Michael Kors, he’s taking it all in stride. “I mean, I’ve been doing this for the past 38 years, so as a designer—it’s fun and interesting!” Kors explained, just hours before his show. “What’s happened now is that we have no rules. You can wear feathers for day, silver for day, fringe for day… and then, wear flat shoes for night. So I think we’re finding now that women’s wardrobes have actually become more versatile.”
The proof is in the ‘gram. Just a quick stroll through the app, and you realise just how many of your favourite style crushes are guilty of that. Like Negin Mirsalehi (@neginmirsalehi) roaming around the streets of Amsterdam in a tailored suit, with Doc Martens, or Aimee Song (@songofstyle), who worked a polka-dotted slip dress, with a crisp, white blazer. “They mix everything up,” Michael continues to say. “There are no seasons, no time of the day. It’s ‘everyday glamour’ rather than the old-fashioned idea of dressing up on a special occasion. Now, it’s all about using your whole closet!”
True to his word, Michael Kors Collection Autumn/Winter ’18 collection was a solid representation of this fashion revolution. On the runway, wallpaper florals were worn with leopard prints and Scottish tartans, while Park Avenue ladies swapped their luscious minks out for P. Diddy-parkas. Another intriguing look to note: the collection’s final ensemble featuring disco-ready sequinned trousers, worn with a varsity tee and sliders on BAZAAR’s June cover girl, Joan Smalls. As Michael mentions pre-show, “It’s all about personal style.”
Indeed, the American designer’s ability to zero in on reality is second to none. After all, this was the man who made headlines for casting plus-size model Ashley Graham on the runway in his Autumn/Winter ’17 show. With a line-up just as diverse as the collection itself, beauty, in all shapes and sizes, was celebrated. Like South Korean model EZ, whose platinum buzz cut threw off the stately evening gown she was in, or South African Georgina Grenville who proved that even at the age of 42, you could still rock a scarlet red faux fur bomber with rugged biker boots. Graham also reprised her role on the runway, making an appearance in another faux-fur number in sorbet pink, a breezy midi skirt and camo-green embellished sweater. Think Baby Spice at boot camp, but with an uptown, Blair Waldorf appeal.
While it’s one thing to offer covetable pieces across a spectrum of trends, it’s another to be pushing it further on a diverse scale; the idea of relatability, as opposed to a “one size fits all” approach. And it’s through this bold move that Kors is really pushing women to think outside of the box. A little bit of a tomboy, but feeling intimidated by a Cinderella-esque ball gown? Or pushing 50, but still wish you could rock that overtly-embellished slip dress? Then let this collection be your voice of reason, because to Michael, “short hair, straight hair, dreadlocks… any age, size, and ethnicity. I think that’s what modern beauty is all about.”