At his Fall '19 show, the designer Michael Kors raised the bar significantly on what a New York Fashion Week show needs to have.
Simply put: something better than Barry Manilow singing 'Copacabana' as the surprise finale to the show. In fact, if it were possible for every morning to start like this, all the better.
Yes, it happened, and yes, the response—when attendees realized what the hell was going on, and yes that was Barry Manilow standing on stage in a orange, bejewelled jacket—was rapturous.
There was a gorgeous moment when everything went silent, Manilow was revealed, and the truth stood there, ready to rouse us from the runway.
The show was already a blockbuster. Set within the cavernous Cipriani Wall Street, there were flashing chandeliers and twinkling disco balls. Michael Douglas, with his wife, Catherine Zeta Jones, and their daughter, Carys, were there (with Douglas consulting his program for what was passing in front of him); Billy Porter too, in beautiful silver print jacket and large hat (briefly removed because it was hot in there, and soon returned to his head).
Kate Hudson wore a floral maxi dress, and the front row also included Kerry Washington, Doutzen Kroes, Priyanka Chopra, Regina King, and Olivia Wilde. Gigi and Bella Hadid, and Kaia Gerber, walked in the show; far too young to know Studio 54, but more than adept at channeling the spirit which has distilled itself in its name down the years.
The collection, unsurprisingly, was heavy on disco, with silver crushed silk lamé, gold, and black metallics; and shirts and jackets with the familiar logo of Studio 54 itself printed on fronts and backs. For Kors, the stunning collection was a celebration of this most most mythologized and embraced of pop-cultural eras: the swinging West 50s in the 1970s, "a convergence of theater, film, dance and fashion... Bette, Bianca, Baryshnikov, the street as runway, Bill Cunningham's sidewalk stars..."
And so the 74 looks, mixed men and women, swept past us on a sea of feathers, sparkle, and the odd boa—until Manilow's shock appearance, and the models joining him on stage to dance as he sang 'Copacabana,' which of course includes the line, "Music and fashion were always the passion." They certainly have been for Kors, and today he made sure they were for the attendees to his barnstorming Fashion Week spectacle.
The question for other designers now is, how do you better Barry?