“Timeless” is one of the adjectives often used to describe Michael Kors’ designs over the past four decades.
In recognition of his 40th anniversary, the designer has begun selling a special MK40 capsule collection featuring a selection of pieces from seasons past that Kors has recreated for today.
Originally shown on the fall 2021 runway in Times Square in April, each garment has a special QR code sewn inside. Upon scanning, the QR codes will direct customers to the fall 2021 Michael Kors Collection microsite at michaelkors-collection.com, where they will find exclusive stories about the pieces, including archival photos, personal and historical anecdotes and videos of Kors speaking about the specific looks.
The MK40 Reissue Capsule is being released in Michael Kors Collection stores and on michaelkors.com in monthly drops. Some pieces have started to arrive in stores and will continue to be delivered throughout this month and September. Retail prices range from $690 for a skirt to $9,900 for a gown.
This marks the first time in the brand’s 40-year history that Kors will reissue items from his archives.
“The MK40 Reissue Capsule combines timeless fashion, modern technology and a little bit of storytelling all at the same time. When you scan the QR code, you’ll be able to connect with the garment’s history and have a piece of that story right in your closet,” said Kors.
The Cape Makes A Return On The Runway
He handpicked the designs, consisting of styles the company says exemplify the brand. Each piece in the capsule has a unique story, many tying back to the supermodels and stars who wore them.
A black gown with palette hand embroidery and marabou feathers from Michael Kors’ MK40 capsule. A similar, but much heavier dress was worn by Maggie Rizer in fall 2000. Courtesy shot.
“I selected a lot of really iconic pieces, all of which are over 20 years old. Everything from a Swarovski diamond-encrusted slipdress from the resort 1990 collection that Madonna wore [on the] Women of the Year cover of Glamour to a fabulous cherry patent leather coat that Cindy Crawford first debuted in our spring 1991 runway show. I think we all have to remember that the best fashion, it’s not fast fashion, it’s fashion that lasts and gets better with time. Each garment in this capsule has an unforgettable story attached to it, and with the QR code technology, we’ve found a fantastic way to connect with the past and bring these heirloom styles to the next generation,” said Kors.
A white slipdress with crystal hand embroidery from the MK40 capsule. A similar version was worn by Madonna on the cover of Glamour in 1990.
Among the styles in the capsule are an ivory/black zebra intarsia shearling coat, black cashmere turtleneck and an ivory/black zebra wool jacquard skirt from fall 1994, a mahogany plonge coat from fall 1991, and white silk georgette kimono gown with paillette hand embroidery from fall 1992 — all interpreted for today.
On the microsite, for example, there’s a description of a double-faced cashgora halter wrap dress from fall 1991. “This camel double-faced cashgora wrap dress debuted on the fall 1991 runway, worn by British model Gail Elliott. Its unique design is a quintessentially Michael Kors marriage of meticulous tailoring with a modern twist. Referencing the silhouette of a traditional men’s bathrobe and rendered in Michael’s favorite neutral shade of camel, this style’s plunging halter neckline transforms it into a sexy statement dress. In the 40th anniversary collection, the designer elongated the dress’ hemline, but styled it sans jacket to emphasize its alluring appeal.”
Michael Kors’ halter wrap dress for fall 2021. courtesy shot.
Model Gail Elliott in the Michael Kors wrap dress from fall 1991. WWD
Kors added on the site: “This dress is fashion’s answer to having your cake and eating it, too.”
For the black-and-white zebra look, which originally was worn by Danish supermodel Helena Christensen on the runway in fall 1994, Kors explained that he modernized it with a handcrafted intarsia shearing bathrobe coat, black eight-ply pullover and a black-and-white zebra wool jacquard miniskirt. “I think every woman should own at least one animal-print item. My attitude has always been, go big or go home,” said Kors, on the microsite.
He described a gold bonded leather trench in the capsule that he showed in fall 1991: “No wardrobe is complete without the perfect trench. It’s the epitome of timeless chic — a blend of practical and polished that you can wear almost everywhere.”
When Kors showed his 40th anniversary collection in Times Square in April, he showed these pieces from past collections, which was a feat because he had practically no archives. For example, Bella Hadid’s red patent balmacaan coat was originally worn by Cindy Crawford on the spring 1991 runway, and the QR feature includes a snippet of video of her walking in it.
Bella Hadid in the red patent balmacaan coat. Courtesy shot.
Cindy Crawford in the red balmacaan jacket from Michael Kors’ spring 1991 collection. Maria Chandoha Valentino/MCV Photo
“I picked things that I thought truly stood the test of time,” he said in April. “Before there were cellphones in the front row at fashion shows, there was applause. When Cindy turned the corner in that coat, the room went crazy.”
In discussing last week why he decided to embark on this project and what the experience was like revisiting these looks over the last 40 years, Kors said, “Well, of course during lockdown, we had a lot of time to think about things. When I started my business, I really didn’t think that I’d ever be here 40 years later, and I didn’t actually take very good care of my archive pieces. My 40th anniversary made me really think: What has Michael Kors stood for for 40 years? My answer is [that] Michael Kors has always stood for something that’s timeless but exciting. I really thought, how do we push the envelope on pieces that I know are going to be wonderful and timeless, not just next week, not just next month, perhaps 20 years from now, 30 years from how, but still give you energy and glamour.”
As for what he learned about the timelessness of the collection, Kors noted that a few things have definitely been consistent over the years. “There’s certainly a yin-and-yang balance between opulence and simplicity, something laid-back and at the same time definitely glamorous. Neutrals have always been a mainstay of Michael Kors, and I think a mainstay of our customers’ wardrobes. Glorious neutral shades: beautiful camels, chocolate brown, ivory, black, shades of gray.”
But perhaps the most surprising thing in going through the archival looks was the women who wore the clothes. “One of the things I realized when I thought about my 40 years is just the amazing variety of people that I’ve dressed. You know, when I think of the women who have worn Michael Kors — women of all ages, women of all sizes, women of all nationalities and backgrounds…it’s incredible. That’s one of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure as a designer: dressing this huge variety of people and seeing them all feel and look great,” said Kors.
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