In three years, Michael Kors’s sales are expected to reach $1 billion in the U.S. alone, predicts John Idol, chief executive of the Kors company. And that’s not just because of his design skills or Project Runway, which pulls in about 5 percent of the company’s gross. In her profile of the designer in today’s Times, Ruth La Ferla notes that Kors gets to know merchants and sales associates in stores that carry his clothes, like Bergdorf Goodman, and makes personal appearances at trunk shows to rub elbows with clients. Just a few reasons his sales have increased an impressive 50 percent and then some at Bergdorf alone in the last three years. But what we wish La Ferla’s piece highlighted more is that Michael Kors’s strategy is so effective because of his personality! He’s just as delightful off camera as he is on camera. (See for yourselves.) And how many famous people can you say that about these days? Certainly not, say, Tyra Banks.
But Kors also persevered when times were tough. In the nineties, when the world turned to grunge (us included), one of his big investors left and Kors had to file for Chapter 11. And later, critics panned his fall 2000 collection. But none of this stopped Michael from making or selling clothes. So we can certainly understand why he looked so frustrated when Keith complained about his chicken metaphor on Project Runway last night.