Michael Kors Celebrates the Diversity of Beauty and Style

The designer talks about his inspirations for his Fall 2018 collection and his definition of “Wonderlust.”

by SunHee Grinnell

GettyImages-918270968.jpg

On Valentine’s Day, in the entry halls of Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Michael Kors showcased his very lively and eclectic Fall 2018 collection, where the “no makeup makeup” look extended to the hairstyles, too.

Inside a packed green room backstage, as the hair and makeup crew tends to 68 models, pro hairstylist Orlando Pita explains: “It’s not one look - we’re taking what the girls have and enhancing it.” The models included old-school personalities Karen Elson and Kirsten Owen as well as newer faces like Bella Hadid and Ashley Graham. “It’s about the model’s individual and genuine looks - even Joan Smalls is going back to her roots (through her extensions) and wearing it curly today,” Pita said with a wink.

Dick Page, using MAC Cosmetics on the models, carried on the natural vibe: “No one is overdone. It’s all natural tones on the eyes, lips are their own color, no blush, no mascara and no liner,” says Page. Since this collection is about individual dynamism and energy, Page said, “it had to be about reading individual faces and allowing their natural state to emerge.”

From uptown girl to downtown look, from Chelsea to Nomad, the show was a blend of eclecticism. “I’m a born and bred New Yorker,” Kors said. “This city is built on diversity and I wanted to celebrate that diversity of beauty, the diversity of style and individuality - we didn’t even change anyone’s hair.” Kors said he took inspiration from a huge range of influences, many of them iconic fictional characters. “She’s Carrie BradshawJackie KennedyMargot TenenbaumSolange Knowles, and Zendaya! They are all lovers of style who like to have fun with it.”

What all of these influences have in common, Kors continued, is “that they know who they are and like to have fun with themselves. It’s about self-expression and especially now, there are no rules! How great! If you want to wear marabou slippers with jeans, I love it, if wear shower clogs to a black-tie, go for it.”

 Left: Ashley Graham backstage. Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com. Right: Michael Kors Wonderlust. Photo courtesy of Michael Kors.

Left: Ashley Graham backstage. Photo by Kelly Taub/BFA.com. Right: Michael Kors Wonderlust. Photo courtesy of Michael Kors.

It’s not just fashion that inspires this kind of elation in Kors. His warm floral gourmand fragrance Wonderlust was created with a similar sense of awe in mind.

“The best about travelling is when finding, part familiarity like home, but the other part of it is, ‘where am I?’ That’s the dreamiest mix of things - that combo of being familiar and the unexpected, which is always something I hope for every day and not just when I travel,” explained Kors. “That’s how I design and how I put things together.”

So, the name, Wonderlust? “I make up words all the time, that’s just how I speak. When Bette Midler was trying on her gown for Tony Awards, I said to her, ‘Oh my God, you look like Petunia Collins and she said, who’s Petunia Collins, and I said it’s a character I made up!’” Kors said with a laugh. “Wonderlust is when you travel and your eyes open up wide because you can’t believe what you are seeing. So it’s the best combination of wanderlust and wonder - I say it all the time.”

When Kors first went to Africa 10 years ago, as his small twin-engine propeller airplane started to dive for a landing, a sea of giraffes scattered away in a pattern, “and I couldn’t believe my eyes! All of a sudden, I was in Out of Africa with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford next to me!”

“So when you see something familiar then when you see it in real life, that’s Wonderlust.” Just like his collection, recognizable yet unexpected. Brilliant.

sunhee grinnell