#SuzyNYFW: Michael Kors Sings Stirring Songs on New York’s 9/11-1

“I think, globally, everyone is obsessed with their DNA,” Michael Kors said, as he explained the process of mind and action that had brought the Uptown designer to a warehouse in Brooklyn to present his Spring/Summer 2020 show.

As a young people’s choir sang ‘This Land is Your Land’, ‘American Pie’ and ‘New York, New York’, the designer’s memories were focused on the story of his great-grandmother’s arrival in the city by boat on Ellis Island, just 14 years old and a lone refugee fleeing from troubled Eastern Europe with just $10 to face an unknown world. the perpetually enthusiastic Kors could have turned his family’s refugee history into a joyful fashion collection, with touches of the 1940s in polka-dot dresses and sweetheart necklines that gave a scent of Downtown New York to an Uptown collection.

#SuzyNYFW: Michael Kors Sings Stirring Songs on New York’s 9/11-2

The designer cited his vision of the refugee story as the birthplace of sportswear, while the romanticism of the 1940s and uniform dressing brought urban polish. But at the heart of the show was a vision of patriotism and of women on the move in a turbulent world. And Brooklyn was at the very centre of that universe.

“For my great-grandmother, it was the dream,” Kors said. “On the Lower East Side, they were living in tenements – tiny apartments with too many people. Eventually, my grandmother was born in Manhattan and then they moved to Coney Island, and for them it was Capri or their Riviera. When I think about my life and what I have done, I think of my family and it makes me very proud. I still believe that there is the power of positivity in fashion.”
#SuzyNYFW: Michael Kors Sings Stirring Songs on New York’s 9/11-3

The success of this profound story was that the fashion itself was upbeat and joyous. It was also totally of the current moment, making even a dress scattered with cherries look not like a costume, but a 21st-century outfit.

#SuzyNYFW: Michael Kors Sings Stirring Songs on New York’s 9/11-4

The menswear, with its sporty energy, helped to make the women’s clothes seem relevant. There really was nothing – even coats with buttons as anchors like emblems – that did not seem relevant for today. A frill at the shoulders gave a further frisson of style and wit.

#SuzyNYFW: Michael Kors Sings Stirring Songs on New York’s 9/11-5

Kors saw the contrasting proportions and mixes of fabrics as part of a fashion game. “It’s the whole idea of proportion play – you have the narrow trousers or a little pleated over-skirt, then the regatta jacket and the lived-in cashmere Argyll,” he explained. “But it is not just the re-imagination of things you want to grab for your closet. What’s interesting also, is the mix. Beauty is expanding. When we talk about whether you are binary or trans-gender, you will see truly the mosaic and the rainbow of what I think is the modern approach to how we look at beauty.“

#SuzyNYFW: Michael Kors Sings Stirring Songs on New York’s 9/11-6

He explained, “There are models in the show that will make you say, ‘Is that a man’s outfit? Is that a women’s outfit?’ I think, realistically, it doesn’t matter. It’s a whole new ball game.”

#SuzyNYFW: Michael Kors Sings Stirring Songs on New York’s 9/11-7
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The skill of Kors is to feel and examine the enormous changes going on in the world – and to absorb them into his fashionable wardrobe. Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, and Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio were all seated front row as the designer’s good friends. How amazed Kors’s great-grandmother would have been to see to what extent her descendant had embraced the American dream.