A worthy Kors: designer delivers subtle message about Trump’s America


Last season’s Michael Kors fashion show was a truly cheerful affair. Rufus Wainwright performed Get Happy with a six-piece band and shouted out “I’m with her” during his performance. This time the show delivered a more subtle political message that involved an entire orchestra.

As strings played defiant minor key pop – Sweet Dreams and Papa Don’t Preach featured heavily – models stomped down the catwalk in clothes that conjured an image of a woman who travels between board meetings and cocktail parties on her private jet.

There were cosy, multilayered cashmere outfits fashioned from a single head-to-toe hue – a trick from the Jackie O school of dressing – and gold and silver molten lamé gowns. There were luxe leather handbags and beautiful fringed dresses that swayed and sashayed as the models walked.

This was not a collection that would please Peta – there were lots of fur coats – but it did have its own political agenda. It featured models who were more diverse than is typical – the plus-sized model Ashley Graham walked, and there were fortysomethings among the twentysomething waifs. In a press conference before the show Kors also pointed out that there were models in the show from every continent.

“I have devoted my career to diversity,” he said. “Someone at the office was saying about the immigration conversation and I said, in America, unless you are Native American, everyone is an immigrant. The whole country is.”

He also talked about creating clothes for “powerful” women, and about making women feel “protected and cosy and sexy at the same time”.

It was not a specific anti-Trump statement – those have been thin on the ground from the big brands so far this fashion week – but it was something.

Kors also created a couple of entirely new pieces. One had the playful working title “the schmoo”, a jumper-shaped creation designed to be used “like a security blanket” and tied around the waist or neck, “because with a real sweater,” he explained “there is always too much fabric.”

Another innovation brought to mind Melania Trump: a camel jacket created specifically for shoulder robing – wearing one’s coat over the shoulders – one of the first lady’s favoured styling tricks.

Indeed, it has been hard not to see the Melania aesthetic in many collections, from the power coats at Oscar de la Renta to the pussybow blouses at Tory Burch. Given that she is a huge consumer of luxury fashion, this is a connection designers will find increasingly difficult to ignore.