Whether he's making clothes or talking about making clothes, Michael Kors is an unfailing crowd-pleaser. A room full of what looked like some of his best New York customers gathered at the Doubles Club on the Upper East Side this week to hear him chat with F.I.T.'s Valerie Steele at a lunch held by the school's Couture Council. When the picked-at crab salad was whisked away, and many of the subsequent sorbet cups declined, Michael took the microphone. "Oh, now I have to be amusing!" he quipped, to laughter. The designer, who is celebrating his 30th year in business and just opened a store at 133 Fifth Avenue, discussed everything from dropping out of F.I.T., to his teenage penchant for leg warmers, to the daunting task of overseeing the megabusiness his name has become, to Project Runway. Read highlights of his talk below, and see some of Michael’s personal career highlights chosen exclusively for the Cut from the past 30 years in the slideshow.
When Michael attended F.I.T., he wanted a job working in a clothing store. Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel wouldn't hire him, but the eccentric Lothar's did.
I think both [Bergdorf and Bendel] at the time said no, we're not hiring freelance, part-time, 18-year-old kids in leg warmers. (Yes, I wore leg warmers, yes, long hair, looked like Peter Frampton, signed autographs, "love, Peter Frampton"). There was a store on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue called Lothar's. And Lothar's sold tie-dye, French, skintight, very Brigitte Bardot, Saint Tropez jeans that I think at the time were $130 for a pair of jeans, which everyone thought was insane. I walked into the store actually thinking, You know, I didn’t get a job, but maybe I could buy some pants. Of course, when I was in the store I realized they were $130 and I don’t have $130 and I started talking to one of the sales girls and she said, we're actually looking for part-time help. And she looked at me and said, you know you get a discount in the store and you get a free outfit, so I was like, I'M HERE.
Keeping up with the fashion cycle is more than a full-time job.
The cycle is crazy. Before we did Céline, I'd be like, "God I'm so busy." And I've realized I wasn’t busy at all! Starting to go to Paris, and having to do the two shows each season, it's like an athlete going into training. As designer, you have to have endurance. It's also no longer American designers design for America, and French designers design for the French market. I do four collections on Michael Kors collection, on Michael Michael Kors we ship something new every month, we have three shoe collections, two handbag collections, men's which is monthly, watches four times a year, and I'm doing all of it and I'm on top of it.
Most Viewed Stories
The Big Secret of Every Dating App: Tech Doesn’t Matter
How to Get Out of Any Party Conversation
‘Weed Dick’ Is the New Way for Men to Sexually Disappoint You
Cindy Crawford on Bagels, Instagirls, and Bringing the Supermodel Era to TV
American Apparel Files for Bankruptcy
Astrology GIFs for the Week of October 5, 2015
It’s Harder to Be Thin Than It Was in the ’80s
All the Ceilings Women Keep Hitting Their Heads On
‘Truly Ugly Guy With Glasses’ Is Europe’s Most Virile Man
From Our Partners
beach house decor on the west coast
20 Marble Nail Art Tutorials That Are Truly Mesmerizing
Who What Wear
Explore Inside Coco Chanel's Famous Parisian Apartment
Dear Dad, I Still Remember You
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Fashion Features5 Things I Want to Wear From Paris: Part 3
Stripes, embroidered separates, and Céline studded boots.Cindy Crawford on Bagels, Instagirls, and Bringing the Supermodel Era to TV
And how she's helping her daughter navigate the pressures of the modeling industry.Zendaya Floated Around Paris Like a Cloud
Dreamy.See Our Exclusive Portfolio From Paris Fashion Week
Another fashion month dispatch from photographer Tomasz Lazar.Coddington, Kawakubo Star in Interview Portfolio
They were photographed for a sweeping 60-page section by Fabien Baron.American Apparel Files for Bankruptcy
Current shareholders, including Dov Charney, will no longer control the company.The Retired Modeling Agent Who Loves Empire
“I started my own agency — we represented Twiggy — but went off to be assistant to the actor Yul Brynner, who was dating my roommate at the time.”Bright Coats for Cold Days
New York women in winter's least-boring outerwear, from bright-green alpaca fur to leopard-print mohair.Céline’s Woman-Friendly Triumph
Phoebe Philo remains in touch with what women want to wear.Watch the Alexander McQueen Livestream
Enjoy!From Up Close, Raf Simons’s Vision for Dior Is Clear
And don't count John Galliano out at Margiela yet.5 Things I Want to Wear From Paris: Part 2
Cropped sweaters, a spangled skirt, and more.Jaden Smith and Kesha Partied This Week
Along with Cindy Crawford, Anjelica Huston, Rita Ora, and Lena Dunham.Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid Partied in Balmain
Plus: more highlights from Paris Fashion Week's parties, including Jared Leto.See All the Street Style From Paris Fashion Week
Featuring wooden platforms, velvet robes, and floor-length ponchos.Who Won Best-Dressed at Milan Fashion Week?
Another city, another people's choice Peacock.Style Smackdown: Olivia Pope vs. Cookie Lyon
Judging the best looks from this week's episodes.Never Mind the Feminist Sound-Bites, Rick Owens Just Showed His Best Clothes Yet
Gymnast models symbolizing "women supporting women" wore mature yet spontaneous looks.Grace Jones Is Having the Wildest Book Tour Ever [NSFW]
She flashed crowds at her signing in New York.