nyfw: michael kors

(images via style)

as the seasons have passed (and certainly also as some of my bitchier sides have been tamed), i’ve come to realise (as i may have mentioned now and again) that i kind of love michael kors for everything he is and stands for (design-wise, i’m talking), because although he’ll probably never be designing for kids like me (my personal aesthetic is some fields apart, as i’m sure you well know by now), but just the same, he keeps up his standards and makes some beautiful clothes falling into that traditional vision of the ‘american dream’.

but that doesn’t mean that, over the seasons (see s/s 2011, pre-fall 2011, f/w 2011, s/s 2012, f/w 2012, s/s 2013) we haven’t seen him go wild, exotic (or both) time and again, and certainly, even though for his latest new york fashion week exhibition, staged at lincoln center, was an ode to all things sporty americana (yes, again) for the f/w 2013 season, he still managed to shake things up a bit. this included some bold caution-vest orange and camouflage prints, like a fur wrap worn by catherine mcneil, and even some quite ill-advised moments, like the unfortunate furry ear-flapped hat poor grace mahary was forced to sport. yes, some things, i’m afraid, will never be chic, no matter how cool one is.

but really, i don’t wish to dwell on the down side, because for whatever amount of time the camo and neon orange moments may have gotten out of hand, there were excellent moments–and more!–in equal measure. i was personally struck by the foil-y silver-and-black blocked sexy strapless number modeled by kaitlin aas, its counterpart waffle-y pressed leather-y black jacket that fell somewhere between a blazer and motorcycle jacket teamed with a fifties-esque skirt and worn by antonina vasylchenko, the oversized-pattern houndstooth wrap on shu pei qin, and finally, ming xi’s seductively sophisticated architectural black sweater suit.

but! if that’s all on me, shall we listen to hear where the critics come in? right so, “we saw a stretch crepe parachute skirt, a gorgeous royal felted jersey peplum sheath, a cuddly and delicious oversized orange cardigan, and yummy black merino leggings,” noted usa today. “Everything felt young and vibrant and easy. ‘Urban life takes a lot of energy. To live in a big city today, you have to be kind of an athlete. You need speed. It’s an athletic collection mixed with a very Park Avenue polish. It’s the best of both worlds,’ says Kors.”

and according to us vogue, “what [women] are craving is high fashion with all the perceived practicality of men’s clothes, right down to the lack of encumberment and the nifty no-nonsense notion of pieces that don’t need endless amounts of negotiation to wear.  If this ticks the right boxes for you, then you’ll want to take a look at Kors’s coolly urban silver quilted sleeved black coat, or a similar shape rendered in that superbright blue that’s rapidly becoming the color of the season. Or perhaps one of his capacious peacoats, swathed with a sweep of fur down the back. Or, indeed, his crisp, boyish, and cropped pants, rendered in everything from black crepe to tweed jacquard to camo gabardine.”

“Who could resist Michael Kors’s patented combination of ultra-luxe fabrics and perfect tailoring, with more than a dash of private jet traveler thrown into the mix?” cried fashionologie, in more statement than question. “Furs ruled, turning up in cutout stoles and camo ‘print’ coats. Orange and cobalt provided jolts of color to black knits and tweed pencil skirts. Karlie Kloss closed the show in a jewel-encrusted mini with a trailing black train. And if that didn’t make you want to get out of your seat and shake it too, maybe it’s time to check your temperature.”

meanwhile, style leapt in to declare that “(f)eeling urban and sporty, he lifted taxicab yellow and caution orange from the New York streets and juxtaposed them with plenty of the city girl’s go-to black. Many of the tailored pieces seemed built for speed with rounded shoulders and aerodynamic double-face construction; black patent trim and taped seams evoked the world of car racing or maybe scuba. Goggles added to that feeling. Mixing his metaphors, Kors also threw in all sorts of camouflage for the girls and the boys, most luxuriously in multicolor mink.”

“That’ll get you noticed on the sidewalk. Still, he was most convincing when he played it low-key. Plenty of urban warriors at the show would kill for his charcoal gray wool melton overcoat and the pantsuit shown underneath it. A plonge leather cropped jacket and zipped-slit pencil skirt would really take girls places. Same goes for the designer’s clingy ribbed knits. Kors’ big idea for after dark, a fitted minidress with a peplum overskirt that extended all the way to the floor in back…They weren’t bad in those primary colors. But why not one or two of his signature, sleek stretch jersey tank dresses? With his sporty theme, those would’ve been a no-brainer,” they concluded.

elsewhere, the ap related that “Kors sent out a soft royal-blue cashgora (cashmere and angora) jacket that had a placket made of black leather front and center. He paired it with a matching zipper skirt. A black rubberized shaker-knit sweatshirt was worn with taxicab yellow track pants that had tuxedo stripes made of more black leather. For those who need to make it to the office during a storm — literal or figurative — there was a gabardine-leather toggle coat and rubberized pullover sweater for men to wear with black cotton trousers. For women, there was a quilted leather skirt suit. She might need one of the stiletto pumps with the fluorescent strap across the foot, almost like duct tape.”

and, fashion week daily reported that “‘(l)ife as we know it in New York is always fast, but I think it’s gotten faster and faster,’ Kors [said]…’We’re juggling so many devices, bags, and cups! I always feel like you have to be an athlete to live in a big city.’ To urbanize that sportif feel? Stir in a bit of uptown polish, Kors explained. ‘People living a fast life are crazy and busy; they want things that function and move. At the same time, who wants to give up indulgence, sex appeal, and luxury?’…the well-paced and energetic show was filled with neon orange, taxicab yellow, and electric blue, juxtaposed with black, white, olive, and charcoal. Texturally speaking, chunky knits with a slight sheen mingled with supershiny piping, perforated sheer skirting, and structured suiting.”

“Camouflage and houndstooth were blown-up then remixed in looks that veered from casual-futuristic (big tinted visors over ostentatiously techno-seamed egg-yolk yellow and black separates, silver quilt-effect leather on chest panel of a hard-edged black leather skirt) to mid-century demure (a great houndstooth stole over a black fitted sheath dress, a pale grey tweedy scoop-neck pencil skirt suit),” relayed the telegraph. “The undeniable potency of an only half-zipped zipper on a black leather skirt was deployed with total ruthlessness, while clean, pumped up tailoring in that eggy yellow, orange and sapphire blue against a black backdrop were the good-girl options.”

and in their typically clipped fashion, the la times weighed in that this was an “(h)aute road crew, with taxicab yellow, neon orange and electric blue mixed with hounds tooth checks and camouflage prints.  Bonded wool coats, jackets and track pants with racing stripe and zipper details. Rubberized shaker knit sweater over perforated felt skirt. Ribbed knit peplum sweater and tube skirt. Black slim dresses with parachute silk trains. A tongue-in-cheek camouflage print mink coat.”

then, said uk vogue, mr. kors’ autumn show “was more than confident in colour – cobalt, yellow and orange, lots and lots of orange and mostly combined with black to make for a real colour point – the future is definitely bright here. ‘We crave a garden in winter in the city. It’s the traffic lights, the taxis,’ enthused Kors of this move. It was about celebrating the fast nature of the city, New York City, and the fashion capital of which he is one of its most noted darlings.”

“‘I love the idea that you can have this urban polish and athleticism, it’s the best of both worlds,’ he said of the strong scuba graphic shapes that began the collection and continued throughout to make a confident and powerful statement – his women know what they want and they’re going to make sure they get it in sharp shoulders and square cuts, aggressive zip detailing and Terminator-style shades (see, that’s how bright those colours were), big sweeping coats, easy jumper shapes, sequin versions of houndstooth and camouflage furs. It was, just as he said, Uptown and athletic all at the same time – glossy and groomed but nimble and agile with it,” they carried on.

and in appropriately wry-but-humourous fashion, the nyt‘s cathy horyn commented that “(a)t first I raised a big fat eyebrow at Michael Kors’s athletic romp — well, it was 10:30 a.m. and who can look at taxi-yellow serge at that hour? Or a mink coat in bright blue camouflage. But then I decided it was all a pretty great sendup to just about everything that beats and honks in New York. The fact that he also showed some nice Donegal tweeds and things seems almost impertinent to mention, like asking your taxi driver to turn down his radio.”

finally, wwd closed things out by writing that “(t)he show ended with a superwoman moment via the lean, mean bustier dresses with leather busts and gowns sporting cutaway parachute skirts. With the music thumping, the shocks of brights and some of the models sporting shielded sunglasses, the lineup had the upbeat jolt of a 5-hour Energy, although the brief interim of relatively classic tailored donegals — pencil skirts and fitted jackets — provided a smooth and calming high.” so, in the end, all’s well and nice, non?

(watch the full fashion show video here)

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