Michael Kors - our exclusive interview Featured

We take a look at the American designer's new luxe cabin collection

While fashion collections can often speak for themselves, it’s always better to hear about them straight from the source – especially when that source is one of the industry’s best visual storytellers. As a judge on the hit reality show ‘Project Runway,’ Michael Kors often stresses the importance of having a clear theme and telling a story with a collection. He practices what he preaches in his own designs, the latest story being this fall’s cabin gone glam line of ready-to-wear and accessories. We caught up with the designer for a chat about the new collection, his ever-growing menswear line and his secrets to the perfect handbag.

Backstage at Michael Kors fall/winter 2012-13

In the span of a year you’ve taken us from South Africa to the cabins of the American woods – what makes the concept of location appealing to you as a designer?

If you think about it, a place or location really can spark so many creative thoughts—the landscape, the architecture, the light can make you think about colours, textures, shapes, adornments. The fall 2012 collection was really more about the ‘idea’ of a place—old Hollywood and the American West. So that meant the collection had to have a mix of classic elegance with a bit of rugged coziness.

You’ve done a lot of interesting things with outerwear this time around, can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for this new range?

They’re an important element of the story of the collection: The blanket plaids and ponchos feel very American West, while the touches of fur add the elegance of old Hollywood. What’s so fabulous about them is that they can be worn with a gorgeous, sexy dress, or over jeans and a sweater. How chic!

Michael Kors fall/winter 2012-13

If you had to pick, what would you say is the must-have Michael Kors ensemble for fall/winter?

I love the mood of the pieces that are both rigorously tailored and absolutely feminine, so the sleeveless peacoats over the Chantilly lace dresses, or the leather and mohair lace dresses.

Michael Kors fall/winter 2012-13

We saw an increase in menswear at your show, can we look forward to a dedicated men’s show in the future?

Our menswear business continues to expand both in the US and globally, but I have no intention of doing separate men’s and women’s shows. I love the energy of having men and women together in the show rather than presenting separately.

I have to ask you about your handbags. Each design seems to ‘nail it on the head’ in terms of what the ladies are looking for. How did you develop such a knack for knowing what we want in a bag?

You know, I think one of the most essential skills a designer can have is empathy for his or her customer and her wardrobe needs. So when I think about a bag, I really do think about how it will make her look chicer of course, but also how it will make her life easier. If it’s a tote, does it have a handle that’s big enough to fit over her shoulder? Is it light enough so that once she packs all of her stuff into it, she doesn’t need a crane to lift it? There’s a thought process that goes into each piece.

Michael Kors fall/winter 2012-13

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