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Michael Kors’s Movie Magic

Culture Watch
Ali MacGraw, Michael Kors, Rene Russo and Kate Hudson at the “Icons of Style” event in London.

By: Jessica Michault

It is pretty much impossible to have a conversation with billion dollar designer Michael Kors without talking about films. A diehard cinephile, Kors spent hundreds of hours growing up inside the dark refuge of a movie theater watching stories unfold on the big screen.

“We went to go see the Sound of Music when I was very small and I couldn’t understand why Mr. Von Trapp wasn’t marrying the baroness,” recounted Kors about one of his earliest movie memories. “And my mother said ‘why, what do you mean.’ And I said well the baroness is so beautiful, I love her clothes. And my mother said ‘she is not a nice woman. He is going to marry Maria and she is a lovely woman.’ And I was like but look at her clothes!”

As he grew up Kors’s fascination with film, its fashion and its leading ladies, only intensified. The glorious wardrobe Hubert de Givenchy created for Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina is one high water fashion mark for the designer. But so is the understated beauty of how Meryl Streep wore a slightly oversized camel trench coat and shirts opened just a button too low in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer. No detail goes unnoticed by the iconic designer.

It is this love of film that made him decide earlier this year to put on an event in London called “Icons of Style.” He asked three actresses, who are now also devotees of the Kors brand, to fly to the United Kingdom to talk about their work in film. Ali MacGraw, Rene Russo and Kate Hudson joined the designer on stage, before a viewing of MacGraw’s iconic film Love Story, to discuss how the costumes they wore in each film helped them get into character and how powerful, and transformative, clothing can be.

“I don’t want to sound like I was some sort of great child genius, but,” said Kors with a laugh “from the time I can remember I’ve always just been engrossed with anything that was sensory.” In films what drew the designer most was how they, in the blink of an eye, could transport him into another world. “I would fall in love with the glamorous character, or the character that was different. And also I think seeing people living a different life then the one I was living, was the most amazing, and is still the most amazing, thing about films.”

Finally in 1999 the designer’s love of cinema collide head on with celluloid when Russo called him up and begged him to dress her character in the remake of the classic film The Thomas Crown Affair. Kors was the head designer of Celine at the time and Russo basically used the entire runway collection from the current season as her costumes in the movie. To this day the actress credits the clothes Kors created for making that film a success.

Today, more then fifteen years later Kors still has his sights set on creating more costumes for films. In fact there is one movie in particular that he has his eye on if Hollywood ever does a remake.

“ I love films about transformation,” explained Kors. “So I would love to do the modern take on Working Girl. To me that movie is so American in its optimisms. In the fact that you can role up your sleeves and reinvent yourself. And fashion – that is also what it can do. It can help you reinvent yourself.”


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