|GINGER LAYTHAM: What initially sparked
your passion for fashion?
MICHAEL KORS: I’ve got a family of fashionobsessed
people. My grandfather was in
the textile business, and my grandmother
was defi nitely the best-dressed high school
principal ever, my mother modeled, my
uncle was in the fashion industry – it was the
conversation I hear d at the dinner table. Plus,
shopping around with my mom as an only
child was an advantage.
GL: What did you want to do when you
MK: I always drew, I always sketched. I went
through a period when I thought I wanted
to be an architect, then realized you had to be
profi cient in math, and that was not going to be
good for me. I went through a period where I
even thought I would design cars, but I realized
that wasn’t going to happen. Then, I took acting
classes when I was a teenager. I love the theater,
but fashion won out.
|GL: How did you get your start?
MK: I worked in a retail store called Lothar’s,
selling clothes and working full time. I left
school because Lothar’s offered me a job at 19
designing clothing. I did that until I was 21 and
then I thought “Hey, I’ll give it a stab, and do
my own thing, and at 21 I put together a little
collection and took it to Berdorff ’s, and as they
say, ‘the rest is history.’”
GL: What have been the most profound
infl uences on your style?
MK: A combination of things. I’m very much
infl uenced by pop culture in general; paparazzi
pictures, movies, theater, music ... My style is
kind of half way between my mother and my grandmother. And then
designers I looked up
to when I was growing
up, people like Halston,
who I think really had
American fashion and
|GL: Do you have a
muse for your work?
MK: I have a few muses.
There are always people
who will turn me on
from a style perspective.
Jackie Kennedy will
always be to me the
pinnacle of American
style. Allie McGraw,
would be my guy of
all times. And there’s
always the new answer to
them. Is today’s George
Clooney the next Steve
GL:What about the different approaches
to fashion in Europe and United States?
MK: There is a different approach between
the United States and Europe, but it’s slowly
disappearing. The difference by nature is that
American fashion is about the person. America
invented the idea of comfort, the idea of mobility,
easiness. You know, we invented jeans! We
invented t-shirts! Europe is about fashion as art, as
creation, which can sometimes be overwhelming
in real life. Today the best fashion that comes out
of Europe and the States is a combination of the
two. There’s creativity and there’s practicality.
GL: What about the controversy over
excessively thin models? MK: It’s ridiculous. A good amount of the
models are very young. It’s about health, not
thinness. I mean I was pretty skinny when I was
15 myself. If we see a model who’s unhealthy
looking, I don’t care if she’s 16 or 26, I don’t
want to see her on the runway. But clothes in
general, as we all know when we’re trying out
a new diet, seem to look better when we’re
feeling a little thinner. It’s just a reality of life.
It’s important to make sure that the models take
care of themselves, that they’re healthy. And if
they’re young, that someone there can help them
through the whole quagmire of fashion.