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Watch: Michael Kors 40th Anniversary Fall/Winter 2021 show

Michael Kors, an award-winning designer of ready-to-wear and luxury accessories with stores around the world, is more than a trusted name in global fashion. Recognized in many households for his uplifting sense of humor during his tenure as a judge on Project Runway for 10 seasons, Kors is also a long-time proponent of inclusivity, Global Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme, philanthropist and activist. This year, he is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his eponymous brand. From his journey in fashion, passion for theatre and activism, to Spring/Summer 2021 collection and wardrobe favorites, Kors spoke to Vogue Czechoslovakia in an exclusive interview.
Michael, first off, congratulations on the 40th anniversary Collection for Fall/Winter 2021 and kudos to you for its introduction in the most memorable way, live from New York’s iconic Broadway theatre district! Why was it important for you to celebrate theatre industry, not to mention supporting the Actor Fund?
I saw my first Broadway play at the age of 5, and my love for the theater has only grown since then. I often say that if I wasn’t a designer, I’d be a Broadway producer. The pandemic hit Broadway very hard, and I’m grateful to be able to use my 40 anniversary to support an industry that has brought so much joy and inspiration to the world.
Tell us about your Spring/SummerS2021 collection, in stores now. What was the inspiration?
I approached the Spring/Summer 2021 Michael Kors Collection with more thought and with more intent than any other collection I've ever designed. During lockdown, I felt like we were starting to lose the joy of getting dressed, so I kept thinking, how do we bring that joy back? I wanted to take that easiness that’s been so comforting to us during a really tough time and combine it with glamour, with luxury, with something that will last for years to come.
Do you have favorite looks?
It’s always hard to pick favorites, but I’m loving the looks that catch the breeze, whether that’s a floral flutter-sleeve dress or a relaxed linen suit. Cashmere sweaters with asymmetrical necklines, hand-knit fringe tunics, sequined gowns that you can dress up or down – these styles are all about that easy laid-back glamour that can take you from the city to the country to the beach. In terms of accessories, some of my must-haves are the hand-woven minaudière and casual leather slide sandals.
With a stellar career as a designer for four decades, what do you feel is the reason behind your continuous success?
Two things: staying true to my vision and listening to my customers. It’s so important to be empathetic and anticipate what your customers need and want in their closets.
You started to design as a 5 year old. Take us through your beginnings and formative years in fashion.
My family and I have always been fashion-obsessed. My grandfather worked in the textile business, my mother was a model and my grandmother was a high school principal who never repeated an outfit. Talking about fashion over the dinner table was just a part of life. When I was 5 years old, I redesigned my mother’s wedding dress, and when I was 11, I opened a store in my basement called the Iron Butterfly where I sold tie-dye t-shirts and macramé. By then, it was clear – I was going to work in fashion.
Who was your biggest designer inspiration you looked up to and why?
Halston really opened the doors for American sportswear and proved that it could be chic and glamorous. 
Who did you love to work with as a muse, source of inspiration and is the epitome of style and class to you?
Lauren Hutton has always been one of my muses and I’ve been lucky to know her since I was in my 20s. She embodies that all-American sexy tomboy style, and I’ve always admired those ’70s paparazzi shots of her jet setting around the world and looking stylish every step of the way.
Your clothing is about sporty-chic, jetsetter life style, with a ‘comfort-first’ signature. Why are these elements important to you?
I think more than ever we’re living a fast life and we’re constantly moving, whether that’s running errands or running to the office. We all need a wardrobe that can keep up with our fast-paced lives, and that’s what my designs are all about.
What is the most popular item in your own wardrobe? And what should every woman of every shape and age own in hers?
For me, it’s my aviator sunglasses. I must have over a hundred pairs. For my friends and customers, a fabulous cashmere sweater is the most timeless and versatile piece you can have in your closet.
What excites you most about fashion? What’s the best part of your job and what is the hardest?
That it’s always changing. That’s what makes fashion both exciting and challenging. No day is ever the same, which means we have to stay on our toes and figure out how to adapt. The best part? I’m doing what I love every day and I get to meet the most incredible people.
What advice do you have for designers dreaming to launch a brand particularly at this time, entering a new era in fashion?
It may be a new era in fashion, but my advice is still the same as ever: know yourself and know your customer.
For years, your runway shows exemplified inclusivity, showcasing women of all sizes and ages on the catwalk. What do you think is still missing in fashion today?
I think it’s great to see more and more brands representing the breadth of their customers on the runway – it’s something we’ve always stood for. But there’s always more work to be done, though, including supporting a more diverse range of young designers.
“Time Magazine” featured you as one of 100 most influential people in the world. You have a long list of awards, you are philanthropist, activist, Global Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme. Supporting many honorable causes, what is activism to you? Which cause is particularly close to your heart?
Hunger. In this day and age, no one should go to bed hungry, especially since hunger is truly a solvable problem. I’ve been lucky enough to work with both the United Nations World Food Programme and God’s Love We Deliver here in New York City to provide lifesaving meals to people in need. It’s amazing to see someone’s face light up when you hand them a plate of food. I think that’s what it’s all about – making a positive impact in someone else’s life, whether on a local or global scale