So farewell, Michael Kors. In his exit collection for the label he's been designing since 1997, he conjured a straightforward roll call of ladylike personalities to wave good-bye to Paree. That meant, as he spelled out in his program note, "The sporty American simplicity of C.Z. Guest and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy mixed with the youthful European sophistication of Leslie Caron, Jean Seberg and Audrey Hepburn." In other words, no surprises, but a lot of luxe double-face camel-hair suits and coats, gray cashmeres, trim Donegal tweed, and jeune fille lace dance dresses.
Kors leaves Celine as he found ita bourgeois, conservative French lifestyle label with a reputation for quality. His parting gesturemelding snappy, abbreviated mid-nineties American sportswear with mid-fifties European iconic fashion standardsefficiently summarized the kind of job he has done here. With never a hair or a seam out of place, and always scrupulously attentive to the correct matching of shoe and bag to ensemble, his chignoned ladies advanced in neat-waisted, belted, top-to-toe propriety. Working in a classic palette of beige, brown, gray, and red, Kors made his most ultra-deluxe daytime statements with a short, chocolate crocodile double-breasted jacket, and another in form-fitting astrakhan. For night, he worked the current feeling for fifties circle skirts into romantic, black, strapless lace-covered dance dresses, in honor of Audrey. As Kors took his final bow, he saluted Lawrence Stroll, the backer of his own eponymous New York label. That's where Kors's future now lies; as for Celine, the next chapter remains to be written. A successor to Kors is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.