Michael Kors New York Mag Interview
New York Magazine has a truly wonderful interview with the Duchess which you need to go check out if only for the perfectly Duchess picture accompanying it on the front page. Also, because it has such a fantastic opening:
“If there is anything Michael Kors likes as much as fashion—and there’s not, really—it would have to be a Broadway show. This season he’s seen South Pacific (twice), A Little Night Music, Sondheim on Sondheim, A View From the Bridge, and, on a super-humid summer night, Red.
“We ran into one of our neighbors and he said, ‘What does red mean to you?’ ” Kors smiles and his face lights up pink. He’s just arrived at Joe Allen for a late supper with his longtime boyfriend, Lance LePere. “Red? It’s the only color that New Yorkers will buy!” He lets out an enormous peal of laughter and waves hello to Cheyenne Jackson (“Now, that is a star!”), who is at the next table, and then he orders a hamburger, fries, and an iced tea with extra ice and lemon on the side. (“Does that make me sound like Donna Karan?”) “If you want to be a real girl,” he says, “you should order a banana cream pie and nothing else.” He leans back, delighted. “A banana cream pie and nothing else!”
How DELICIOUSLY Duchess! You should go read the whole thing. It’s one of the best portraits of the man we’ve ever read, full of bits about his personality and personal history, his aesthetic and his work as a judge on Project Runway. He comes across a total hoot. Have some tidbits to get you started:
On being a judge on Project Runway:
“He was our first choice,” says Runway executive producer Jane Cha. “We wanted someone with a very serious business. But it turned out that he’s a completely natural performer. Everything is a catchphrase. Nothing is ‘too crafty’; it’s too ‘Becky home-ec-y.’ Nothing is ‘too country’; it’s ‘Appalachian Barbie.’
On knowing his customers:
As Garcia puts it, “Michael really thrives on knowing his customer. It’s the storytelling: She’s in Palm Beach, she’s in Aspen, she’s going to Elio’s for dinner. He speaks about his clients as his closest friends. You’re never going to be a victim in Michael Kors, and that’s a hard thing to pull off.”
Kors, unusual among designers, likes to listen to his customers. He likes to hear what they’ve liked, what they hated, what chafed when they walked down the block. “I think empathy is a big thing,” he says.
On his aesthetic:
“Look, there are different designers for different things,” he says, “and if you’re looking for an avant-garde art project, I am not that designer. There are people who do that beautifully, and that’s great. If you’re looking for the trousers you live in, that’s my thing. Maybe I’ve just spent a lot of time in the dressing rooms of the world.”
On growing up:
He describes his childhood as a swirl of Ultrasuede and crop tops, frosty lipsticks and chilly, shaken martinis.
“The women in my family could sit and argue the merits of a slingback versus a peep-toe for hours,” he says. “I was the only child in this whole circle of adults, and I became the shopping companion. I had very strong opinions.”
At the age of 5, he redesigned the wedding dress (“Too many bows!” he complained) that his mother wore to marry his stepfather, Bill Kors, the man who adopted him later that year.
On his longtime boyfriend Lance LePere:
It was in Paris that he and LePere fell in love. They’d known each other since 1990, when LePere joined the company as an intern, but there was something about being together abroad that solidified things. “We share a certain level of taste,” LePere says, “an American point of view, and I think we like to play with Americana. Over the years and the day-to-day process of dreaming together, things just naturally fell into place.”
Nina on Michael:
“Michael’s one of the very few designers I’ve ever met who is happy and living life and enjoying it,” says Nina Garcia. “He always says, ‘We’re not curing cancer here. Fashion is meant to be fun.’ ”
“So many designers are so tortured,” says his Runway cohort Nina Garcia, the fashion director of Marie Claire. “It’s, Oh my God, I’m an artist. I’m so sad. There’s none of that with Michael.”
Source: “Park Avenue Jesus!” [NYMag]
[Photo Credit: gettyimages.com]