"There's not a waistband in any of the looks," Michael Kors said by way of preface to his Fall lineup. Those waited outside, in the sales showroom. When the collection came from the factories, the pieces Kors gravitated to were the sweats and track pants, all in luxurious fabrications—double-faced cashmere, suede, suiting flannel—and all with drawstring waists. That gives you an idea of the bet he's making on ease. ("And we had so many fabulous belts…" he said wistfully afterward.)
He was reacting, he said, to the twin nightmares of business-formal overdressing and casual Fridays. He combined both into what he called "Big Sur meets Big City." Baja sweaters and beanies abounded. There were suit fabrics and tailored jackets, but softened into something more like pajamas than power suits. A representative look paired crinkled flannel track pants with a longer, three-button jacket, untucked shirt, mohair pullover, and sandals. "It's the crushing of Wall Street," Kors said gleefully.
That's an odd way for a man behind the most blockbuster fashion IPO in memory to repay Wall Street, but his bankers may be the only people able to afford ten-ply cashmere long johns. If the collection doesn't portend the demise of the suit, it does suggest Kors has shrugged off some of the self-consciousness of his last collection for a glamorous ease that seems closer to his heart. Piece after piece was desirable, even when faintly ridiculous: cashmere sweats, suede joggers. "I have a feeling someone in Dubai will actually work out in these," Kors said. Workout-ready or no, one major retailer exiting the presentation confirmed that luxury loungewear is a salable and growing category.