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“Georgia O’Keeffe, Elsa Peretti, blue skies and the American south-west” were the starting point for Michael Kors SS16 collection in which poppy prints, poet blouses and fluid, strappy tailoring were key motifs. Designers have an allergy to structure in New York and with growth in Europe and Asia a key focus for the house, which recently reported an over 7 per cent increase in total sales in its first quarter, it’s no wonder. Japan recorded a 30 per cent increase in sales compared with North America’s 1 per cent. The house now dresses a shifting international clientele who don’t care to pack a travel iron.
Kors no longer believes in “seasons”. Everything here was easy, fluid and roll-uppable. Sequins had been cast aside and flowery appliqués stitched on, and silver grommets studded along seams. A full-length dress in cream vintage lace was mindful of “modern bridal”, a category Kors has yet to exploit, while the black versions had an elegant severity that even O’Keeffe might have admired.
Tactile seduction was key. Long-sleeved blouses with slippery necklines were designed to “unravel” on the body but not reveal, their cuffs tied with long trailing straps that wiggled down the leg, and the handbags crumpled in the fist. The shift in accessories towards minimal, malleable design has been instructive: one could see the influence of Loewe in these butter soft straw suedes. Far more appealing than the boxy structured calfskins of last season.
Best of all was the tailoring. Black vests were cinched with double-ring belts and worn with wide-legged trousers. A linen shirt and cargo pants had an effortless grace. Such bright whites would struggle to stay pristine against the red sands of New Mexico, but the collection was a compelling version of those far enchanted lands.