The impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on fashion brands varies widely from designer to designer. But if today’s Spring Summer ‘22 collection is anything to go by, it’s only made Michael Kors better. Kendall Jenner opened the show in a hip-hugging pencil skirt paired with a sleek bralette and Carrie Bradshaw-esque low-heeled mules, and the retro-gone-modern blend didn’t stop there. Suits were modernised by cropping the jackets short and turning the trousers into well-fitting capris. ‘50s-style poodle skirts were worn with shrunken cardigans and matching knitted bras, and gingham was given new life courtesy of micro crop top-and-shorties sets. Kors likely had the 1950s on his mind, having booked Ariana DeBose, the star of Steven Speilberg’s impending West Side Story adaptation, to sing at the show.
Kors is famously a theatre obsessive, he’s been a patron of Broadway-related initiatives for years, and ramped up his support during the Covid-19 pandemic, when more than 97,000 staffers were furloughed or unemployed. The first time I interviewed the designer back in 2016, we were seated in a private room at Sardi’s, the iconic pre-Broadway dining spot best known for the caricatures of famous regulars—Liza Minelli, Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor—that line their walls. It’s one of Kors’ favourite restaurants and is, in many ways, a distillation of his brand’s ethos: American classic with a hefty dose of glamour and an obvious respect for the past.
Kors began designing clothes as a child, even creating a storefront out of his mother’s house while he was still in grade school. That he parlayed that early love for fashion into a billion-dollar megabrand, regarded around the globe as the embodiment of American glamour, is a testament to his singular vision. Kors has never been overly swayed by trends. His aesthetic has, naturally, evolved and developed over the years but his core offering—beautifully made clothes for the stylish American woman to wear day-to-day—has stayed the same. That kind of staying power is far harder than it looks, but when he’s still designing collections this strong 40 years into the game, it doesn’t seem as if it’ll be letting up any time soon.