"Michael Kors" is more than just the name of a designer—it's practically an adjective. If something is "very Michael Kors," it evokes the easy glamour, chic simplicity, and sexy, sporty world that Kors has created. There's not only his ready-to-wear collection, but his various lines of jewelry, handbags, cosmetics, and fragrances. And nothing reflects that world better than his three new fragrances—White Luminous Gold, Rose Radiant Gold, and 25K Brilliant Gold—all of which hit shelves last month (and for which he just threw a huge bash at the Boom Boom Room in the middle of New York Fashion Week). I caught up with Kors backstage at his spring 2016 show to ask him all about his expanding beauty empire.
What about the spring collection is "very Michael Kors"?
"There is a yin and yang about the collection because there are a lot of soft, feminine clothes—there's lace and ruffles—but most of it has this earthy, rustic quality to it. And then there are a lot of boyish, tailored pieces that are also very sexy. You know, I love glamorous, but I like barefoot; I like potato chips and caviar. I like the two extremes, and there’s very much that attitude in the collection."
What are your three must-haves for spring 2016?
"Well, you’ve got to have a skirt that reveals the legs when you move and walk, so whether it’s slashed, wrapped, ruffled or draped up, that’s one thing that you’ve got to have. A romantic blouse is key—we have some beautiful poet shirts this season, and I love the idea that they could possibly slide off; nothing could be sexier or more feminine. And then you definitely want something lace. At night, I love the idea of something that is covered up and long-sleeved but in fact is very sexy and very provocative."
You’ve told us before that in your collections and ads there is always “sexy, shiny, skin.” What about this look appeals to you?
"At the end of the day my favorite women and my favorite guys are full of confidence, they’re self-assured, and I think there’s a sense of well-being and happiness and optimism. And quality of skin, quality of hair, I mean, that says it all, so when we’re sitting there and thinking about the beauty looks for the show, it’s always starting with that idea in mind. In this instance, the [spring 2016] collection is kind of taking us out to the Southwest, so there’s a dryness, actually—it’s a little dusty beauty rather than shiny, but it’s definitely all about well-being."
Let's talk about your new fragrances. What’s your earliest memory of loving gold?
"Well, my first crazy memory of gold is when I was about five years old. My grandmother bought me a gold ID bracelet, and I loved nothing more in the summer than having a very tan arm with my gold ID bracelet—it was kind of perfect. I think I lost it in the swimming pool, and it was never to be found again."
You’ve told us before that “beauty transports you faster than fashion—you spritz on a fragrance and you’re in Capri.” Where are the gold fragrances taking us?
"I think rather than taking you on a journey, gold is all about expressing the mood you’re in, which I think women do when they put on gold jewelry. When you put on rose-gold jewelry or a rose-gold watch, you automatically have this sort of softer, feminine attitude, and I think the Rose Radiant Gold scent represents that. I think when you put on 24-karat yellow gold you’re definitely saying, “I’m here, I want everyone to know that I’m here, and I’m feeling unabashedly glamorous.” And then I think there are times when you want to be glamorous, but you want a sense of sportiness, a crispness, and I think that’s when most women want to wear white gold. So we really wanted the fragrances—rather than take you to a place like, say, Studio 54, Beverly Hills, and Stockholm—to be more about the attitude and the mood that they evoke."
How do you know if you’re wearing too much gold? Is that even possible?
"Oh, I don’t think you can wear too much gold—I've never believed that. I think gold is optimistic, and I think that again, it depends on the person. I mean, if you’re Diana Ross at the height of the '70s, Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, or Kate Hudson at the Met Ball, no one would ever say that there’s too much gold. And I mean, everyone looks great in gold."