Let's Hear it for The Boys

Courtesy Michael Kors

Michael Kors ruminates on the increasing visibility of men in the glamour stakes.

Why do you think the focus of so many luxury labels these days is on menswear?
 Men are finally starting to pay more attention to fashion, to how they look and what their clothes and accessories say about them. The truth is, fewer men are wearing suits on a daily basis, so they need clothes that are slick and tailored but still a little more laid-back. Men are paying more attention, so we are, too.

What is the gray area that you are looking to fill with Michael Kors Men? Your resort 2015 collection, Amalfi Americano, suggests a coming together of Euro and American sensibilities, of high fashion and casual. I really believe that men are looking for smart, casual pieces that can go from work to weekend. They want the jacket they can wear to the office with matching trousers and then with jeans to a club on Saturday night. With spring in particular, we were playing around with all these hybrids—polished windbreakers that riff on traditional golf and sailing jackets, a toggle coat in leather, an espadrille sneaker, the sweater polo and tee—that give you this sport-luxe attitude and that work anywhere in the world. Another important thing when we’re designing men’s is that a majority of the pieces need to be seasonless and versatile. Let’s be honest: Most men aren’t paying attention to a seasonal color palette like our women customers.

You have joked about NormKors, but do you think the normalization of men’s fashion is a good or bad thing? I think it’s a good thing—when it’s done right. The problem with fewer men wearing suits is
 that they don’t know how to put together a look that, yes, is a
 little more relaxed but still has 
a polish and a neatness to it. 
It leaves a lot of men looking like interns. But they’re learning.
 I think when men realize that it’s not about giving up their go-to pieces—it’s more about updating them in new fabrics and silhouettes—menswear will really hit its stride. The first step for guys is to improve the quality and the fit—it’s an instant transformation.

Who are your men’s-style icons? We know the women who inform your women’s collections, but not so much the guys. Steve McQueen, Robert Redford, Cary Grant, JFK Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, and Ryan Gosling.

You are known for your uniform (jeans, T-shirt, blazer, aviator glasses). Should all guys have
 a uniform? When I was a teenager, I was 
a slave to fashion. Now I’m so busy that my priority is to get out the door as easily as possible. Depending on your life, a uniform can be a great idea.
 You just have to find the pieces that work for you.

What are the new staples that a guy needs in his closet? 
A tailored take on a peacoat, a pair of narrow chinos, a polished windbreaker, a sweater polo, a slim white jean, and a weekend bag. I think those pieces will take you everywhere you need to go this spring.