This month, Michael Kors opens his first—and long-awaited—Philadelphia boutique, bringing practical glamour to the city of “American chic.”
Michael Kors delivers his sporty luxe style staples to America’s quintessential city.
A quick check of Michael Kors’s robust Instagram feed confirms the Long Island-born fashion designer is, well, everywhere: snapping a “selfless selfie” with Halle Berry for #WatchHungerStop; celebrating National Handbag Day (yes, there is such a thing) in Hollywood; taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at the beach; posing on the red carpet with Emmy Rossum. As one of fashion’s most instantly recognizable and extremely likeable figures—with a 10-season tenure on Project Runway—Kors is certainly larger-than-life. So it’s only fitting he’s expanding his style empire with his first Philadelphia lifestyle store, which opens on Walnut Street this month.
The 8,052-square-foot space will feature zebra-print furniture, mirrored accents, and oversize vintage photographs, and house everything from ready-to-wear clothing to footwear to fragrance. When scouting for locations, Kors considered the Rittenhouse address the perfect home for this new store concept. “I love Philadelphia,” he says. “It’s a quintessentially American city with an amazing amount of art, history, and culture—not to mention great restaurants.” He also admires Philly’s fashion sensibility. “I would describe it as American chic. There’s always a sense of understatement and ease to the way women dress, whether the look is classic and elegant or cool and bohemian,” he says. “I love the confidence of it.”
The designer in his signature look—T-shirt, blazer, and aviators.
Kors’s Spring 2015 collections capture this optimistic spirit. “For women, it’s all about sporty takes on romanticism—a lot of sunny shades and floral-inspired prints,” he says. Think soft knits paired with full skirts, and belted fit-and-flare dresses. Kors says each look presented an appealing answer to the question, “How do you take something you’d wear on vacation, something more relaxed or more romantic, and make it appropriate for life in the city?”
And therein lies his genius. Kors is able to translate glamour into practical terms, for those of us who don’t, in fact, live on yachts or travel on private jets but want to look fabulous. In his world, such luxurious looks are often built around a sculptural stiletto or great leather belt. “Accessories are the building blocks of a modern wardrobe,” he contends. For that reason, the Walnut Street boutique will house plenty of these essentials, including his must-have sunglasses and sleek watches that are currently trending big. But it’s the shoes that continue to make his female customers swoon—and the new boutique will offer plenty to choose from. “A different shoe can change your look and attitude entirely,” says Kors. When paired with the right outfit, he points out, “All of the accessories I design become the exclamation points to how people dress.”
Giraffe-print ponte flare dress ($130) and Jules leather drawstring crossbody bag ($168).
This zing of individuality is what defines fashion’s next generation, plus young Hollywood stars like Blake Lively and Hailee Steinfeld who often hit the red carpet in his creations. “Millennials want clothes that represent who they are, and that are ready for just about anything,” Kors notes. “It’s about this hybrid of sporty and luxe right now.” Not unlike the designer’s own signature look: Michael Kors black knits, tees, silver watch, and aviators. “Those pieces come with me everywhere I go,” he says. “From St. Bart’s to Shanghai.” 1705 Walnut St.