“I’ve been thinking about strength,” declared Michael Kors in a preview of his Autumn/ Winter 2017 New York Fashion Week show. That concept of fortitude hands-down has been the standout trend of this week but it’s a theme Kors has explored extensively before. One that is perhaps inherent to him and his glamazon customer.
His interpretation also couldn’t have been further from the hard-lined, mannish suits many other designers have offered up as armour for women this week.
Here was a proposition replete with sensuality, luxury and razzle-dazzle. A celebration of womanliness in all its guises – expressed both via the clothes, and the models who were chosen to show them.
“We have bombshells and tomboys,” Kors emphasised, adding that every continent would be represented on his catwalk. There were also ten mothers in the line-up.
One of the most powerful statements was casting the plus-sized model Ashley Graham, who looked sensational in a grey knitted dress, slit to the thigh and cinched at the waist with a pow-wow belt. It is mightily rare to see curves that voluptuous – and she’s only a UK size 14 – in a show by a designer of Kors’ global fame and might.
Edie Campbell, the ultimate eclectic tomboy, opened the show wearing one of the pieces which Kors had rightly been proud to show off at the preview. He noticed how many women now “shoulder robe” their coats (draping them over their shoulders, leaving their arms out of the sleeves). And in turn he had observed how this meant arms became trapped or the coat slipped off. So he added subtle slits above the pockets so that hands could be slipped through and hold the coat in place this way. Genius.
Another invention was the “schmoo” which might have looked conceptual on the catwalk but will actually be a genuinely useful addition to many women’s wardrobes. “It’s a security blanket for the glamorous adult,” Kors clarified.
The schmoo consists of a jumper-shaped, but one-dimensional piece of knitwear to be slung the neck or draped and knotted over the hips. Its intended use? Something to snuggle in when you’re travelling or need versatility in changeable weathers. It came in neutral hues of khaki and grey but also silver Lurex-shot leopard print for jetsetting glamour devotees.
The new handbags had also been designed with travel in mind, coming in soft, foldable shapes. “This is the most glamorous garbage bag you’ve ever seen,” Kors laughed of one shimmering number which could be as easily scrunched under the arm for evening as stuffed with all the detritus needed for a day on the go.
“I want women to feel protected and sexy at the same time,” said Kors of the covered-up look which he had devised. Daywear consisted of immaculately tailored tweed pieces with a soft roundness, often elegantly gathered and roomily cut. Knitwear was sinuous and styled with slouchy knee boots to create a feeling of elevated comfort.
Displaying a keen sense of the way some of his most elite customers live, Kors commented that a heavily-grommeted black dress was not a travel-light option and would needs its own DHL number to be transported.Elsewhere he had taken inspiration from his love for the beach, translating the easy slouch of a sarong into beautifully draped dresses in glitzy abstract animal prints – the sort of thing you could wear to dinner then dance all night in.
Cleverly there wasn’t too much skin on show here, displaying a consciousness perhaps of the modesty many of his global customers require. Saying that, secret slits in jingling, bugle-beaded skirts and swooshing silk fringing did add just the right amount frisson.