Michael Kors Spring/Summer 2013 Collection (Photographed by Cheryl Gorski/www.fashionmaniac.com)

A COLLECTION FILLED WITH BRIGHT OPTIMISM FOR THESE DARK TIMES

Text by PHILLIP D. JOHNSON

Runway Images photographed by CHERYL GORSKI/www.fashionmaniac.com

MICHAEL KORS has always been a designer (and an under-appreciated clothing retailer) with his feet firmly planted on the ground. His head is always thinking of the reality of the here and now. From the very beginning of his career, Mr. Kors has always been one with the exception of a few unforgettable collections, “Palm Bitch”, anyone to keep his flights of fancy clearly in check. He’s inspired, through meeting his devoted customers at his very successful trunks shows around the country, to design for the real customers he has, not for imaginary women who exists only in the clouds. So, as his career has progressed, he has become one of the top go-to designers for women who desires creativity, smart design and a sense of comfort (and sense of self) all rolled in one when they dress to face the world, either on the job, at lunch with friends and/or on the charity ball circuit.

For SPRING/SUMMER 2013, Mr. Kors. Collection, shown at Lincoln Center, was one of geometric glamour, high spirits and bright optimism filtered through the eternal sunshine and wide-open attitude of California. The collection tapped into that sixties-influence that was so prevalent throughout the spring/summer 2013 collections from New York all the way into Paris, but, here again, Mr. Kors made it his own with a crisp look and feel infused with an appealing sense of optimistic joie de vivre that positively bounced off the runway and into your psyche. The collection made me smile.

An enthusiastically graphic collection, it was heavy on Rugby stripes, Op-art finishes, striking primary colors that referenced the space-age sixties and the urban-minimalist nineties. It was also a collection that showed some of the best examples of customer-friendly color-blocking in recent seasons and foundation pieces that a woman (and men) will keep in their wardrobe for years to come.

Standout pieces for women includes a one-piece stripe tank suit with zips on the sides (amazing!), his many dresses with cut-out backs and semi-detached collars, dresses and pant(suits) in cool, understated digital prints of clouds and pools, a white leather shirtdress with gold snap closures (perfect for the ladies who still lunch), and trim Republican cloth coats in bright primary colors with their modern silhouettes. Another key look were the leather pieces (in black & white) with keyhole detailing that evoked the sixties but were definitely of the here and now.

This collection didn’t contain very many evening pieces, those pieces that had that signature Michael Kors va-va-voom, at least on the runway–which was a problem for some people. The exception, of course, was KARLIE KLOSS slinking down the runway in a black double-face crepe dress with a cutout harness bodice. But then, how many women will wear a full-on evening gown in the middle of the California desert? If anything, he exercised strict adherence to the theme and left all those evening pieces back in the showroom for the buyers to touch fabric, so to speak.

On the men’s side of the ledger, I want EVERYTHING in this collection. I am already a Rugby stripes guy, so he had me at “hello” with the first men’s look out of the gate: a long sleeve black and green Breton-stripe top paired with a black and green blocked back panel pants. And I can easily embrace the rest, which includes more striped sweaters, must-have color blocked coats, sports jackets and button-down shirts, shown with blocked back panel pants and shorts, and equally graphic black and white, check and stripe geometric shirt and jacket pairings. If you are looking for foundation pieces, look no further than his killer chesterfield coats and fitted jackets. However, for both men and women, the stripes are the real stars of the show. So get nautical this spring with Michael Kors. You will look and feel fabulous doing so.