Recession 'all the fashion'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 March, 1999, 12:00am

New York designer Michael Kors has a theory that when the economy dips, people's dress sense improves. From a fashion viewpoint, he's sort of happy that some countries are going through economic hardships.

'It happened in New York in the 1980s when there was the stock market crash. People are less mindless and more careful about what they buy - as a result, they dress better.' Michael quotes the example of Texan women in the boom years who would buy 10 suits in different colours without trying any on or considering whether they would go with their wardrobe.

Thankfully for Michael, all that has changed.

'I don't design garish or super trendy clothes, so this works in my favour. It's good that people now think carefully about what they buy.' And this new sensibility co-ordinates with Michael's own sense of style - his clothes for French design house Celine, where he is creative director, as well as for his own label are simple, clean and spare.

Celine's spring/summer 1999 collection is Michael's second. He is in town for the opening of Celine's redecorated boutique in the Landmark. In the US, Michael dresses celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Courtney Love and Elizabeth Hurley.

His keen eye never stops roving. He often stops women on the streets to complement them on their clothes.

He says he once saw a woman in the Caribbean wearing a skirt of his design - but the wrong way round. 'I had to go up to her and tell her this wasn't the way to wear it.

'So I told her the skirt was versatile which I thought was a nice way to say it was backwards.'