Donald Trump took a break from his burgeoning mosque empire to drop by Michael Kors’s presentation on Wednesday — and though his old limelight nemesis Anna Wintour was also in attendance, the runway was free of bloodshed. Trump did bray about God-knows-what in close proximity, but still, it seems that rivalry died at Bryant Park, and what a pity — after the jubilation of Betsey Johnson and the poise of Prabal Gurung, Lincoln Center needed some histronics to sustain our bliss. Kors’s collection needed them, too.
Kors, fresh off carrying Jessica Simpson’s Malti-daschund at the Project Runway finale, makes no bones about being a sportswear designer for mature women with decadent tastes; after all, you’d be hard-pressed to find 76-ply cashmere at Milk Studios this season. His collections never veer far from monochromatics, simple draping, and indulgent textiles; last season’s sable shift dress and bronze Lurex sweaterdresses were extravagant yet still conservative.
For his spring line, he began with a similar palette; tan leather trenches played off sandy, sheer turtlenecks before segueing into a grass-green crinkle-textured sheath dress, then a matching cropped bandeau sweater with billowing vest and leather belted, high-leg briefs. (The latter did not seem plausible for any fathomable social occasion in this life or the next.) Bright boat-neck gowns with high slits stood out for their fuchsia and lemon hues but not for cut. Kors is, by most accounts, a likeable man, so good for him for putting clothes on the poor backs of the upper crust elite; call us when he remembers the ’90s and uses a great print.
A lack of graphics was not Anna Sui’s problem; she took to the same Lincoln Center Theatre runway in the evening to deliver a bohemian whirl of patterns and geometrics. Under the watchful eyes of Simon Doonan and Kelly Osbourne (both equally visible this season, oddly), as model/singer Karen Elson keened from the sound system, models trotted out in a hippie-dippie mystery tour of ruggedly fringed ponchos, exaggeratedly patterned bell bottoms, dark ivory crocheted tops, and skittishly patchworked primary-colored blouses. A linen chambray apron suggested the domestic touch, which was quickly eradicated by a lavender and teal mixed-prints shift. A robin egg blue long-sleeved gown added Victorian flair with its empire bodice, wide black trim and chandelier-detailed hem. Square necks were a nod to last season and her Target capsule collection.
However, unlike last season, Sui shied away from metallics. She replaced the sparkle more than adequately with dazzling flapper-chic beading on drop-waist cocktail dresses. The key to Sui’s runway is to deconstruct the looks; pieces can be worn separately with ease for glamorous quirkiness but piled all together, as they were at Lincoln Center, the giddy garments are reminiscent of 37 pieces of flair. But make no mistake, Sui knows her deft touch — the concluding, shimmering deco dresses made a statement all their own.