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Michael Kors does Ottoman opulence

It’s ostentation and raw wearability, from a designer who’s said to spend his holidays in the Philippines

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EMBOSSED ostrich Hamilton tote in Zinnia

Michael Kors is a name already quite familiar to Filipino fashion consumers and “Project Runway” viewers. What many of Kors’ Filipino customers don’t know is that the American fashion designer spends some of his holidays in the Philippines.

Kors’ love of travel is well-known; it’s where he’s said to get inspiration for his collections. The “Project Runway” judge’s journeys are fueled by the curiosity to know not just his destinations but also its people.

“He likes people-watching. He talks to the locals. He’s always curious,” says a source familiar with Kors’ activities. “He says that when he stops being curious, that’s when he’ll leave the business. As long as he can get his feet in the sand, he’s recharging.”

Kors has spent at least one New Year in Amanpulo, the exclusive island getaway off Palawan. The Philippines and Thailand are two of Kors’ favorite destinations, said the source, who can’t be named as they’re unauthorized to speak on Kors’ behalf.

Embossed leather clutch

“Michael spends a lot of his holidays in the Philippines and Thailand,” said the source. “And he’s picturing these women in all these pieces he designs. They should be able to throw it into a suitcase, whether it’s a fabric that doesn’t wrinkle, or flip-flops or shoes that they can wear from day to night.”

Glitzy collection

For his Resort 2013 collection, presented by Katie Kline, international communications manager, in Hong Kong last week,

Kors, however, didn’t look to Southeast Asia, but westward of the continent for inspiration.

His glitzy collection had the exotic opulence of Istanbul written all over it. There’s the glitter of gold both in fabric and ornamentation, as well as jewels and crystals encrusted on collars to purses to heels of sandals.

Ikat jacquard dress, python cross-strap heels,
rock cuffs

The collection is described as “opulence mixed with minimalism,” ostentation and raw wearability—say, a crystal-beaded gown in an easy, gold lame fabric; or rich gold embroidery in a simple black tunic; otherwise casual shorts in painted python material; even large crystal details on gold python slippers.

In Turkey, it’s said that Kors was intrigued by the “women who weren’t afraid to dress up for the day, or wore dresses with jewels in them.” On his return from the trip, “he asked himself, how would the women in his life and women in the city wear these in their life, and take it from day to night and increase the wearability?”

Balancing opposites

Aria pump with gold studded toe

In come the accessories and footwear, which are intended to either dress up or dress down a particular piece of clothing. For day, a tunic can be worn over a bikini, with jeweled flat gladiator sandals; a quick change into gold python platform sandals plus a crystal-encrusted clutch and one’s set for evening cocktails.

“It’s all about balancing opposites,” according to Michael Kors’ PR team. “It’s season-less dressing that can take you all around the globe, and from day to night. It’s about changing your accessories, or maybe just taking off your jacket. If it’s a gown, he wants it to be comfortable for you.”

By extension, Kors’ Holiday 2013 collection for his bridge line, Michael by Michael Kors, has a similar plushness to it. (Michael by Michael Kors is the line carried by Stores Specialists Inc. in the Philippines, available at Greenbelt 5, Rustan’s Makati, Power Plant Mall, Shangri-La Plaza Mall and Newport Mall.)

The apparel is dominated by floral, palm and scarf prints, for the woman who, if not off to her holiday, would feel like she is packing for one. Scarf motifs are big in this collection. (First delivery of this collection starts in mid-November.)

Palm-print V-neck dress, suede Sloan bag, Aberly heels

Key items to look out for are the gold-studded high-cut sneakers (they come in black, red and gold). The gold pair has gotten Oprah Winfrey’s approval; the TV mogul is said to have picked a pair on a trip to the store with Kors.

The classic black pointed pumps with studded cap toes (in gold or silver) are also hot for the season. The gold stud motif also appears in flat sandals and ballerinas, as well as a couple of platform heel sandals. Gold studs are also all over clutches, a pochette, as well as an iPhone case.

For the first time, Kors’ top-selling oversize watches are also made available in a box-of-three collector’s set.

Five neighborhoods

EASTWest top-zip tote in lime

Kors’ gift guide is grouped into five collections, and named after five fashionable neighborhoods: the sophisticated Saint-Germain of Paris, glitzy Beverly Hills, vibrant South Beach, cool-chic East Village in Manhattan, and the cozy glamour of London’s Sloane Square.

For Sloane Square, Kors’ fans will find several selections of small leather goods and purses in the designer’s favorite colors: Luggage and Camel. East Village is a mix of high-shine (say, black and gold sequined striped jeans) and rock-star cool (gold rock pendant hanging from a black leather cord). There’s also a large black satchel (called Bedford) with large gold studs from this grouping.

The Beverly Hills collection is unabashed in its display of glitter, from Oprah’s matte gold sneakers to a crystal-studded cuff to an MK logo iPhone case. Saint-Germain has quilted red purses and ballerina flats with gold studs, as well as a gold-trimmed black suede shoulder bag with gold hardware. South Beach, meanwhile, is beach-holiday bright with purses and small accessories in citrus colors.

It’s a splendid variety that seems to say, there’s something for every woman and the kind of holiday on her mind.


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