Positivity is what the world needs right now, and Michael Kors is just the man to bring you back in time to do it right.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Positivity is what the world needs right now, and Michael Kors is just the man to bring you back in time to do it right.

(Clockwise from left) Manilow performing “Copacabana”. A metallic patchwork coat perfect for jetsetters. Kors with LePere. Model Patti Hansen, Kors and Barry Manilow onstage. Kors with Bella Hadid. A full shimmer dress from the collection. Backstage at the show. Kors and Hansen with Lance LePere. A glamorous disco dress from the collection. Kors with Kerry Washington and Kate Hudson. Chinese actress Qingzi Kan

It was a chilly Wednesday morning in the Big Apple, and anticipation filled the air—word had it that the Michael Kors Collection fall/winter 2019 show had more than a few surprises in store for its guests.

The disco balls hanging overhead gave an inkling that the destination was the ’70s and indeed everyone was transported back to the era of bell-bottoms, fake fur and slinky matte jersey dresses. Models paraded down the runway in feather boas, sequinemblazoned numbers, leather patchwork coats, flashy metallic tailoring and separates adorned with Studio 54 logos.

The immersive journey back to the past seemed to be complete with the appearance of ’70s supermodel and poster girl Patti Hansen. Until the curtains drew back to reveal yet another icon—legendary musician Barry Manilow performing his timeless hit “Copacabana”. The rousing strains of that disco anthem brought the crowd to its feet as Kors, Hansen and model Bella Hadid joined Manilow on stage. 

It might have been the music, it might have been the people, it might have been the clothes or probably a combination of all three but there was no doubt that Kors had successfully transcended the constraints of a midweek morning and made the world just a bit brighter with his nostalgic inspirations. He shares more about the ideas behind his latest collection.

Is there someone in mind who fully encompasses this collection?

There isn’t a specific person—it’s all about the attitude, which is eclectic, glamorous and optimistic. 

Tell us about your fall/winter 2019 collection. What’s the most interesting thing about it?

Probably the diversity of it. There’s truly something for everyone: From a charming ballet dancer, to disco dolly, to a power woman. It’s a very lush collection, and we had a really fun time designing it. The world is also in a complicated place right now, and I feel that fashion is about the zeitgeist—somewhat like pop culture. The purpose of fashion and us as designers is to remind people that wearing something that makes you feel confident and happy is important, especially in these times. Optimism, romance and glamour, combined with comfort and ease makes clothes modern and relevant. I don’t think this is the time for a sombre collection. These are serious times, so you’ll want uplifting clothes to tide you through.

The brand has fully embraced social media. Has the rise of technology altered the way you design?

Well, yes and no. Back in the day, we would take Polaroid shots of models in the looks and put them on the wall. Those would always be my first reaction; if it didn’t look strong in a photograph, something had to change. I no longer make a decision based on Polaroid photographs, but more of how it looks on the phone. The whole world is going to see the collection on their phones; everyone is a celebrity, everyone is on the red carpet. So in that way, it hasn’t changed all that much. However, when I design a collection now, the thought of my customers being jetsetters strongly resonates in my mind. We have coats and boots for spring/summer and silk dresses and sandals for fall/winter—everything has sort of switched, or mixed up. There aren’t fixed items for specific seasons anymore.

How have you observed a change in fashion today? Are women dressing differently?

What I see now are the two extremes: People are either very casual or very dressed up. There’s not a lot in the middle. The weather also doesn’t matter: We see sandals in Moscow and boots in Singapore. People wear what they feel right in.