Looks like New York might get a happy ending as the big designers start showing American fashion at its easy best
Exactly one week since New York Fashion Week opened on a lawn in Roosevelt Island with a complex show of nothing very much from Kanye West, the city's fashion pros have finally taken over.
"I'm still old school — the idea that clothes should put you in a better mood — I am an optimist at heart," said Michael Kors as he took his bow while the audience was still cheering both the colourful, wearable collection and singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright singing "Come On, Get Happy".
Zing! went the string of fashion hearts as the Kors clothes — jacquard florals, fresh white dresses or even shorts and tops swimsuits — walked a runway set in squares so that everyone, from Chinese film star Yang Mi to Michael's mother Joan Hamburger, seemed to have a front row vantage point.
Should we consider this Kors show — with its corny idea of intarsia stitching of "LOVE" on a cashmere sweater — as a little simplistic? It may be so when compared to the elaboration at big design houses, especially in Europe. But I think there is real merit in keeping things apparently simple.
Of course, behind this parade of easy summer dresses, well-tailored jackets and streamlined accessories, is a depth of workmanship.
Whether it is stretch satin jersey for a floral dress or a silk georgette skirt, the fabrics and the shapes all start at ground zero — they are made from scratch by the designer. Giant daisies against a grass green and sea blue just look simple.
The big ease is the essence of American fashion. But it does not have to mean the basic t-shirts and shorts as seen on sidewalks in this hot September. Kors works every intarsia cotton pullover, every chambray or silk georgette bias dress to make women's clothes — and a scattering of men's seen on the runway — seem so easy.
They have also become quintessentially Kors, as other established New York designers fade away or pass away, leaving him a lone figure.
I asked Yang Mi why she liked Michael Kors; "simple, easy to wear, nice colours, good handbags" was her reply. Maybe other designers should remember that most women — even movie stars — want clothes that look good, feel good and work for them as individuals.
I thought about Rufus Wainwright and how many years he must have put in his career to be able to sing with such such apparent ease. I guess the same goes for Kors.