Parties » Back to School Michael Kors Style

Back to School Michael Kors Style

Fashion week kicks off with a luxurious luncheon honoring the New York designer

Wednesday afternoon, the terrace of the David H Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center was an elegant mosh pit filled with women in dresses of every color and stripe—and the occasional polka dot. By the grassy green step-and-repeat, one could get a glimpse of the tents where New York Fashion Week would officially begin just twenty-four hours later. One lady complained to a companion of her overly tan complexion, “My dermatologist is going to yell at me. I’m trying to scrape this off before I see her!”  This was back to school, Michael Kors style.

The buzzing crowd had come to toast the designer at the annual luncheon held by the Couture Council of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Kors was this year’s recipient of the Couture Council Award for Artistry. His history with the ladies in attendance went way back, in some cases thirty years as with legendary model Iman.

“He just wanted to really be sure that you loved the clothes. I think that has really paid off in the long run,” Iman said, showing off a leopard look from his resort collection. “Because a lot of designers do outrageous clothes that are attention grabbing, but he consistently, year in and year out, does the clothes that make women look beautiful.”

And his vision of beauty apparently doesn’t involve starving his fans: lunch started out with a dainty chilled sweet pea soup, then moved onto a decadent, deconstructed Cobb salad, the likes of which most attendees probably had never pushed around on their plates before.

Opening remarks (including a mention of Kors’s recent donation of a million dollar scholarship at FIT) were made by co-chairs Kamie Lightburn and Jieun Wax; Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at FIT; Dr. Joyce Brown, president of FIT, and Liz Peek, chair of the FIT Board of Trustees. The actress Hilary Swank introduced a glamour quotient—and Kors himself.

“He’s real. That’s rare. And to me, that’s much more attractive than any beautiful dress could be,” she said.

Kors accepted his award with a standing ovation and a mix of humility and his signature wit. “I’m the least athletic person—I have a stiff neck from a bad massage,” he quipped of his reputation for great sportswear. “I would never consider myself a couturier. I don’t make ball gowns and I’ve made a total of six wedding dresses in my career… To win this award shows just how far the idea of sportswear has come. It doesn’t just mean jeans and a T-shirt.”

His sign-off:  “The minute you think you’ve made it, you’re done. Well guess what, I’m not done!”

After Yaz Hernandez chair of the couture council delivered her thanks, dessert arrived: individual, make-your-own ice cream sundaes and cupcakes. Go big or go home. (Three guesses on what most of the ladies did.)