N MAGAZINE: Nantucket fashion is often pegged as categorically preppy. Is there something to be said about dressing accordingly “when in Rome,” or should you stick with your own style regardless of the setting
MICHAEL KORS: I think being true to yourself and your own style is always the way to go. That being said, it’s okay to experiment with different pieces—why not add preppy stripes to crisp white jeans or a bold print with your go-to aviators? There is nothing mandatory about fashion—it should always be fun.
N MAGAZINE: This will be the first time Nantucket has hosted a professional runway show. How will the beach location influence which pieces of your line you will choose?
MICHAEL KORS: Well the collection is very much inspired by the beach, so choosing should be easy! And I’m sure many of the women at the show need clothes that work not just here but in all the places their life takes them.
N MAGAZINE: Can you tell us more about this fall line?
MICHAEL KORS: : Fall is about combining the relaxed attitude of the coast with the urban edge of the city. We were inspired by everything from the natural tones of feathers, stones, beaches and soft-shine metals to rich embroideries and artisanal embellishments. In the collection, you’ll see an effortless mix of laid- back and luxe.
N MAGAZINE: What are the defining elements of Michael Kors, the common thread, so to speak, that connects one line to the next?
MICHAEL KORS: No matter which season I’m designing for, I always strive to make chic sportswear that’s rooted in luxury, but still wearable. Each collection is a balance between sporty and sexy, glamorous and tailored, streamlined and easy—an answer to real lifestyle needs. I update and reinterpret this aesthetic every season, but fundamentally it always stays the same.
N MAGAZINE: You were named one of the 100 most influential people by TIME magazine; how do you think fashion can help bring dramatic change to the world?
MICHAEL KORS: It was such an honor to be named in the TIME 100 list— it made me realize how quickly the impact of the fashion industry has grown over the years. Now, it’s turned into a huge connective force that gives designers a strong plat- form to not only influence people’s wardrobes, but social issues as well. Since launching our Watch Hunger Stop campaign, we’ve been able to deliver over five million meals to hungry children around the world. With ongoing philanthropic collaborations such as these, I really think the fashion industry will continue to make an ongoing, positive impact for years to come.
N MAGAZINE: What is the philosophy that helped propel you to this level of success?
MICHAEL KORS: Stay focused and stay curious.
N MAGAZINE: Which designers influenced you coming up?
MICHAEL KORS: Halston influenced me for sure. I remember seeing him at Studio 54 in the 1970s. He was the pioneer for chic American sportswear and introduced sexy, effortless clothes to women of all ages and sizes.
N MAGAZINE: What do most people not realize about the fashion world?
MICHAEL KORS: I’ve said this many times before and to me it still stands true—being a young designer today is tough. It’s a much different world than the one I grew up in. Now with social media, new designers are visible much sooner than we were. When I was breaking into the industry, I had time to make mistakes and get things right before I stepped out onto a bigger stage. It takes years to learn your craft as a designer, so I think young designers today deserve a lot of credit. It can be very difficult to pursue a career as a fashion designer under constant scrutiny.
N MAGAZINE: Which models have you enjoyed working with most?
MICHAEL KORS: I like working with models that have a personality and bring the clothes to life, and in my career, I have been fortunate enough to work with many of those models— Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Carolyn Murphy, Karen Elson—they’re all great.
N MAGAZINE: Who do you believe possesses impeccable style and why?
MICHAEL KORS: For me, Jackie Onassis will always be a style icon. Her style was very person- al, but polished and sophisticated—it’s an aesthetic that was just as chic then as it is today.
N MAGAZINE: What’s the worst fashion faux pas you’ve seen in all your years in the industry?
MICHAEL KORS: I think the greatest faux pas will always be wearing something that doesn’t fit properly. Be true to your shape and personality and find a good tailor—it’s a guaranteed way to look and feel fabulous no matter what.