Video: An Evening with Michael Kors

"When you're young, you’re figuring out what you want to tell the world about who you are.
Try different things to discover the persona that you want to present,
and the kind of life you want to live. "

How did I get here? Last week Michael Kors team invited me to attend their newly opened (and by far largest in Southeast Asia) store located at Mandarin Gallery Orchard, and I got a chance to spend a late afternoon with the Michael Kors himself, while enjoying a nifty agenda: making cocktails!

So here we are in a bar, shaking, stirring, and throwing questions to the humble & larger-than-life persona you might won't find in his usual interviews.

Q: What's your favorite cocktail?
MK: It's not that hard to make, I just like vodka on the rocks.

Q: What's your favorite era?
MK: The seventies. It's my favorite era, I think that the period was the beginning
of modern times in fashion. It was a revolution in style that I'd love to watch happen all over again.

Q: What were you be doing if you weren't in fashion?
MK: If I can sing and dance, I'd be a Broadway star.

Q: What's your favorite Broadway musical?
MK: ...Probably 'Gypsy'.

Q: What does a strong woman mean for you?
MK: Confidence.

Q: What's your most favorite actor?
MK: Robert De Niro.

Q: ...and who would you pick to play you in your biography movie?
MK: For a comedy movie, which I think gonna be a big box office hit,
I'd choose Will Ferrell. Then there's my fantasy movie, which will be sexy and moody,
and that would be Daniel Craig.

Our partly developed instax.

Listening to his stories, I spotted interesting facts and lesson we can learn from the figure behind the Michael Kors brand:

His sense of style evolved since a very young age. At the age of 5, he helped redesigned his mother's second wedding dress and 'saved' her from a zillion bows wedding dress disaster.

And luckily, that is followed with a great business sense as well.
Far before Michael Kors or Celine, Michael Kors' first store was 'Iron Butterfly', a store at his parents' basement when he was 11 years old --I honestly would shop in a skittish garage store with such a catchy name run by a 11 years old-, selling homemade candles and D-I-Y clothes.

On why he always wear black as his 'fashion uniform'.
"As a designer, I spend all my time thinking about what everyone else is wearing, so the last thing I want to do is to spend more time thinking about what I put on."

His tips on achieving longevity in fashion industry:
"You have to have these three qualities: tenacity, curiosity, and passion. Longevity needs curiosity. Look forward."

And an advice to everyone who are hesitant to go with their personal styles:
"People go through different cycles of personal style. When you’re young and you’re finding your way in the world, professionally and personally, you should try everything. At that time in your life, you’re figuring out what you want to tell the world about who you are. And you have to try different things to discover not only the persona that you want to present, but the kind of life you want to live. Don't pay attention to people telling you. 'you can't wear that'. You have to experiment, you have to play. Go crazy, wear it all."

And if he could give one advice to young designers:
"Don't hang out with fashion people."

How to make it as a designer:
"My job is to know what people want before they know it, and staying in touch as they evolve."

Even Michael Kors has tough challenge to face.
"The biggest challenge for any designer is to stay true to yourself and your design aesthetic, while continuing to surprise customers. I always stay engaged with the world, that's how I stay inspired."

The importance to stay alert with the world, be charitable and make an impact:
"As I started travelling around the world, I started to see that this was a global problem. I sat down and thought, who has the possibility and capability to deliver food around the world? The UN has the World Food program. We have all these fans and our clients. We can mobilise this and we can make a difference. So far we've served 15 million meals."

His philosophy as a designer:
"I've never designed anything just for the photograph. If I don't actually see someone wearing it, or using it, I feel like it's dead in the water."


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