Island Hawaii (Michael Kors)

American fashion houses have problems and inconsistencies their European brethren do not share. Take for instance Michael Kors. Firstly, this guy has no business being head of a major fashion house - he dresses terribly, even for a man. Now, I know men enjoy the luxury of throwing on a T-shirt and jeans and calling it a day, while the fairer sex toils in wardrobe and makeup for ninety minutes every morning to look "presentable." But Mr. Kors has difficulty looking presentable by the standards of either gender, and as a man he fails miserably at something that is second nature to many of his peers (just check out how Ralph Lauren rocks his threads). Fellas, if you want to strike an enduring profile in a world of posers, don't wear skintight black shirts and black suits all the damn time. Avoid the whole "black is classic" thing, because it's overrated. It's unimaginative. It's played out. Wearing all black twice a week is once too much; wearing it every day is sheer insanity.

Secondly, I can't help but wonder how on earth Mr. Kors commands any respect when he dresses this way. Here's how my The Devil Wears Prada scenario plays out, with me as the inimitable Andy to Michael Kors' haughty Miranda:
Bryan, It's come to my attention that you've been bad-mouthing my brand to other employees. You're an intern here, and that's a privilege, not a right. Because your conduct has been so incredibly disrespectful, I'm firing you from the internship. Please go, you're no longer welcome here, and I don't really care what kind of excuse you have, the information about you has been corroborated by seven sources in this department alone.

Yeah, I think I'll stick around, thanks. It's almost lunchtime, and there's stuffed tortellini on the menu today. Can't miss that, you know what I mean? Really, where else in the city can you get stuffed tortellini for free?

Do you see a smile on my face? Is there something about my demeanor that says, "I'm joshing you Mr. Ross, stick around?" I don't want you within fifty yards of my stuffed tortellini, buddy, you're outta here. Go. Now.

(laughing earnestly, and pointing at Michael in jest) Oh! Oh-ho! I get it. "Fifty yards from your stuffed tortellini." That's sexual harassment in some places Mike, but not here. Not here. Nice one. Nice.

Okay, I'm thinking at this point that you're trying to get yourself escorted off the premises by force. So let me say something that you have a much better chance of hearing, if you clean the stuffing out of your ears, that is: if you don't get the hell out of here in the next five seconds, I'm calling security, and then the police.

This chair is comfortable, by the way. What is this? This an Eames? Holy shit, it is an Eames! If I'm sitting in an original Eames lounger, whatcha got on that side of the desk, eh? Wait, wait, lemme guess: Armchair No.F 51 by Walter Gropius. Right? Am I right? Yeah, you bet your tortellini-stuffing ass I'm right. Tom Ford may have engineered Rush for Gucci, but you're sitting on it, big boy. You sit on his accomplishments, for they are nothing to you. That's how you roll.

Michael, as he hits 9 on his speakerphone:
That's it, I've had it. I'd ask why you're displaying this level of disrespect for a man who could have potentially helped you begin a successful career with one of the most successful companies in the world, but fear the answer would be too banal and incoherent. Security?

You dress like a dope.
Sadly, people don't treat Mr. Kors this way. Instead they grovel and hang on his every word, supplanting the obvious with some ridiculous fiction about the style of Michael Kors as American chic. And so America falls behind in all things fashionable. We still think wearing T-shirts with suits is cool. T-shirts with suits aren't cool, unless you're Alec Baldwin and you're on the run with your beautiful sociopath wife. This look requires accessorizing, after all.

Anyhoo, on to Island Hawaii. Having heckled Mr. Kors roundly, I'll clap in appreciation for his little feminine summer scent. Island Hawaii actually smells quite good, although it lacks balance. It's orange overload. Luckily, I like the smell of orange, but for those of you who can only take it in small doses, this scent isn't for you. Hawaii displays the tartness of clementine and the sweetness of pineapple, blended into a massive orange note. Adding to the composition is nicely-blended neroli and indolic jasmine. The flower never really stands out completely, but its semi-ripe freshness lends the scent some much-needed depth. Eventually the orange vanishes, the jasmine's indoles fade away, and the floral notes are illuminated briefly by the setting sun of tangy ambergris.

Island Hawaii isn't bad at all. It's a bit simplistic, but so it goes with summer scents. When it comes to the gender marketing here, I doth protest; unless orange and notes of clean, nutty ambergris conflict with his skin chemistry, I don't know why a man couldn't wear this during the warmer months. I also don't know why Mr. Kors doesn't put the same panache into his personal wardrobe, but if I ever meet him, I'll ask.


  1. Ah, MK. His ready to wear line is soooo tacky. How? Why? But somehow, I am often optimistic about his fragrance releases. I have a soft spot for his original perfume for women, and it makes me hope for good things. So thanks for giving me a much better reason to smell this next time I'm out sniffing. :)

    1. He's had some luck with his perfumes. His signature masculine has been deservedly well received. I can't speak for his other "Island" and "Summer" stuff, but this one is quite nice.

      As for his style, and his clothing lines - well, I've said all I can say.


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