What sparked your interest in fashion? Could you share your first and most memorable experience as a designer? I grew up in a family that was really obsessed with fashion, and I was always very creative as a child. When I was five, I helped redesign my mother’s wedding dress. I went with her to the first fitting, and she puts it on, and it’s covered in bows. When she asked me if I liked it, I couldn’t lie. I said: “I would lose the bows.” My grandmother was not happy, but the tailor snipped them all off. And you know what? The dress became totally timeless. It still looks great today.
You’ve been in the industry for more than three decades. In your opinion, which is the most iconic fashion era? Every one of them has their good moments and their bad. I’ve always had a soft spot for the ’70s — that’s when I think the rules really broke down. I love the unselfconscious glamour and decadence, and the total freedom in terms of fashion.
Why South Africa and why now? We are always listening to our customers and trying to meet them where they are. We know the women of South Africa love our designs, and we’re excited to be able to offer them the products they love in a glamorous, inviting and exciting store environment.
What are the major design elements, direction, and influence for the MICHAEL Michael Kors (MMK) Holiday collection? The MMK Holiday collection this season will have a little bit of the ’80s, some Paris-at-night elements and a whole lot of glamour. Ultimately, this collection will have a lot of fun pieces that feel like a true party.
Which are the three key items in the Holiday collection that South African shoppers should look out for? I think the holidays are the time to shine — why not go for a monochrome metallic accessory? It’s also the season of endless parties, so a clutch or cross-body bag is a good idea — our Jade and Sloan bags are great options. And of course, you need a pair of heels that you can dance all night in, like our Paloma heels.
What is the key Michael Kors hand-bag to buy for the current season? Our Sadie satchel works for the holiday season and beyond. Chain-link detailing gives it a little edge, while luxe leather and a minimalist lock charm keep it elevated.
We all associate Michael Kors with the colour gold. Will there be a generous sprinkling of golden items available in the new South African store? There will always be a little gold in my stores — especially during the holidays! I’ve always thought that there is nothing more opulent than gold. Even just a hint of it: the lock on a bag, a stack of golden bangles or a pair of gold heels — gold makes every look just a little more glamorous.
Could you describe the quintessential Michael Kors man and woman? The Michael Kors man and woman are global jet setters who are constantly on the go. They live life in the fast lane, they’re busy, they’re travelling, they’re juggling family, careers and friends, all at the same time. They need clothes and accessories that keep up with them, pieces that can work anywhere from New York to Mumbai and from work to the weekend.
What’s the best fashion advice you’ve ever received? The best advice I have ever received was from my mother: “Keep it simple, keep it comfortable, and stay consistent.”
We have been very interested to learn about Michael Kors’ philanthropic work. Have you always been driven to use your name to make a difference? I want to do the best I can with the platform I’ve been given. I think it’s important to give back to the community, and I’m grateful that I’ve found a career that allows me to do so.
You’ve created an ever-expanding company with stores around the globe. To what do you attribute your success? Empathy and pragmatism. I’m always listening to my customers: I want to know their concerns, what they want to hide and what they’re paying attention to when they shop. I’m looking to solve the problems they find in their wardrobe, and I think women acknowledge and appreciate that.
What is the vision for Michael Kors — where to next? Wherever our customers want and need us!