Leave it to Michael Kors to bring back New York from the depths of the pandemic — and celebrate a birthday in doing so.
The consummate American designer presented his fall ’21 ready-to-wear collection on Thursday in a film that also marked the 40th anniversary of his brand. While still virtual, the blowout — which included a finale from supermodel Naomi Campbell — represented what’s looking like a comeback for both the city and its fashion industry after more than a year of uncertainty.
Kors began the show with a live message on the streets of Midtown Manhattan, waxing poetic not just on his love of New York City but also of his patronage to Broadway. “I’ve lost count a while back, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen thousands of Broadway shows at this point. There’s no greater experience in the world,” Kors said in his monologue. “So many of the incredible artists who make up Broadway have been devastated by the shutdown the pandemic has caused. So I’m here today to give back to a group of people who have given me so much.”
Kors’s pledge translated into a personal donation to The Actors Fund and encouragement of viewers to do the same, an effort that was introduced by way of a Zoom montage on the (virtual) wall at Sardi’s, with Broadway stars such as Billy Porter, Bernadette Peters, Kristen Chenoweth, Alan Cumming and Marisa Tomei.
After that, it was onto the actual fashion. With Rufus Wainright as emcee and crooner, models walked down a runway that was actually West 45th Street, in the heart of the Theater District (“Michael Kors 40th Anniversary” was shown on the marquee of the Shubert Theatre on West 44th). The parade read like a greatest hits of Michael Kors: sumptuous outerwear, sparkly evening wear and a strong pump or statement boot.
The runway finale came when Naomi Campbell, clad in a black, full-length sequined gown and tailored overcoat with lapel detailing. After a dramatic, très-Naomi walk down West 45th, the supermodel entered the Shubert Theatre, walking down the aisle way past other models (including Carolyn Murphy, Shalom Harlow, Bella Hadid, Helena Christensen and others, to the stage where Wainwright was performing, joined at the finale by Kors himself.
The anniversary show debut comes after a week announcements for a slew of in-person fashion events come September, including New York Fashion Week, where Kerby Jean-Raymond will present his next collection for Pyer Moss, as well as a two-part Met Gala.