Recipient of multiple awards, in particular the CFDA award for womenswear and menswear designer, Michael Kors has been one of the most influential American designers for over two decades. It all started in New York City where, at the age of 19, he designed and merchandised a collection for a well-known local boutique. Over the years, Kors’ vision of beautiful, luxurious American sportswear flourished and expanded to the world of women’s accessories, as well as complete menswear. Michael Kors flagship stores are in New York City’s Madison Avenue, Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, and also in Hong Kong and Dubai. As the brand continues its expansion in Europe, Michael Kors tells Luxos that for him it has always been about the Michael Kors woman. Let’s find out.
You founded the brand in 1981. Today, Michael Kors is a familiar name in fashion around the globe. Could you please tell us a bit about the evolution of the brand?
Being in the business for almost 30 years means we went through a lot of changes. When I created the company, I believed in what I was doing and was fortunate enough to meet people who had faith in me. I believe in an evolution, not a revolution. One of the first reviews of my collection in 1981 stated that I made chic, luxurious sportswear. The same holds true today.
With the new economy, do you think the idea of luxury has changed?
Today luxury means investing in the best pieces and wearing them – not having racks of clothes with tags still on them, outrageous shoes still in the box. True luxury is appreciating what you have. The best things get better with time: quality, not quantity.
In your opinion, is luxury expressed differently in different parts of the world? How so?
It used to be like that. Countries that underwent a drastic change in their economy thanks to new resources, like Russia and China, were hungry for luxury brands. Today, since people are traveling the world more and have access to so much through the internet, they have been exposed to a more subtle and elegant approach to luxury.
How would you describe the Michael Kors woman?
The Michael Kors woman is always sexy and confident. You notice her and think she looks great before you necessarily notice what she’s wearing or what bag she’s carrying. She’s interested in fashion, but is not a fashion victim. She’s also a woman with an opinion.
How do Michael Kors products cater to different customers around the world?
We make high quality, timeless products keeping in mind that people travel a lot more both for business and vacation. Nowadays only the climate can possibly make a difference between what a customer would wear in Toronto or in Madrid.
In your own words, how would you describe the signature/classic Michael Kors style?
Chic, luxurious, sportswear.
I notice that a number of American brands seem to have a different image in the rest of the world. Is this the case of Michael Kors also?
No. I have always been true to myself and what I believe in as a designer. Whether it’s how our stores look, our ad campaigns, or the product we design, I think about a global image.
On a more personal note, what are some of your favourites places (such as hotels, restaurants, etc) around the world?
I love the energy of New York, the luxury of Europe, and the service you receive in Asia plus great beaches from Long Island to Capri to Phuket.
Also on a personal note, what do you like to wear during your trips?
Black. It’s the only way not to worry too much about packing; black travels to any destination and can be dressed up or down very easily. Jeans, a black t-shirt and black blazer takes me everywhere and I'm never without aviator sunglasses.
What can we expect from Michael Kors in the near future? Could you please give our luxury travel readers an idea of what’s to come?
The company is focusing on expanding in Europe. Our objective is to open more of our own stores, especially Michael Kors Lifestyle stores like the one we just opened in Munich which carries a mix of all my labels.