NYFW SS17: Michael Kors gets happy with forties, frills and florals

Michael Kors SS17Years ago fashion shows were sedate affairs. No music, very little movement apart from a haughty glide on the part of the models, and the announcement of each look’s number. But that was then and this is now and even a relatively conservative label like Michael Kors Collection can give us Rufus Wainwright belting out Get Happy as the models bounce down the runway. OK, it wasn’t exactly a world first (Burberry is the established leader in the live-music-meets-luxe-fashion arena, after all) but it was an attention grabber and in a world where see now, buy now and social media buzz seem to dominate the headlines, it worked.

But what about the clothes? Well, this is Michael Kors so we didn’t expect anything radical. What we got was a collection that mixed retro themes inspired by Barbara Stanwyck and Katharine Hepburn. But that retro also felt quite modern. By way of the 1940s and 80s, but with a floral print or floral embellishment that felt quite 60s/70s, we were given the signature ultra-wearable pieces that make up most Kors collections.

Michael Kors SS17Soft tailoring, belted summer coats, and the kind of dresses that can go from boardroom to cocktail party in a slim silhouette that’s subtly sexy. The 40s influence came through strongly here. Think film noir heroines with defined (but not oversized) shoulder lines and frills as a key detail on sleeves, skirts, dresses and almost everywhere else.

There were plenty of vacation looks too. Knee-length shorts and bikinis made for posing in rather than swimming ticked the off-duty boxes, while a slouchy sweater emblazoned with the word Love, or a simple knitted tank top, offered cover-up options for when that sea breeze gets a bit too much to bear.

But perhaps none of that matters as much as the accessories because Kors these days is above all an accessories label. 

Michael Kors SS17The show confirmed that platforms are the way forward for SS17. In this case we got cork soled ankle strap sandals with appliqué leather flowers, wooden soled peep-toe lace-up slingbacks, or wedges mixing white leather with navy and brown crock straps. That navy/white/brown colourway was key throughout – except for the florals. They came in pops of pink, red, orange and green too and decorated chunky platforms that would be perfect for the Kors customer on vacation.

Meanwhile, bags went from a utility edge with webbing straps to ultra-classic in plain leathers but updated with zip or chain detail. The oversized frame clutch was key – dressed up for after-dark with rows of leather frills or for sunny days in the Caribbean with the collection’s floral print. That clutch morphed into a regular handbag with faux tortoiseshell frame and chain plus the collection’s appliqué flowers.

And as if to make sure everyone knew how important flowers were (as if they could have missed the point), they also turned up as giant plastic earrings. A gift to the high street if ever there was one.

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