NYFW: Michael Kors RTW Spring 2022

Kors willed the world to put on a happy face with a runway romance of clean, American classics.

Leave it to Michael Kors to put pep in New York Fashion Week’s step — and keep things responsibly socially distant at the same time.

The sun was shining on the designer’s spring 2022 show Friday morning at Tavern on the Green, with a jazzy live soundtrack by Broadway star Ariana DeBose.

“Nobody loves a live performance more than me, albeit with a small audience,” Kors said of returning to the IRL runway at last during his 40th anniversary year. “But to be honest, what I do is not about big theatrics, they’re clothes we want people to wear. The fabrics are beautiful, the tailoring is beautiful, and when it’s more intimate, you see it; it’s that simple.”

Kors spun a classic American fashion romance with feminine tailoring, lady coats, toreador pants, circle skirts and sheath dresses in makeup hues and gingham checks, which brought to mind Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn from “Funny Face,” Maria from “West Side Story,” and many more iconic women of stage and screen. Flower-filled bucket bags completed the runway fantasy, willing the world to put on a happy face.

“How do you do romance that’s not about ruffles and frippery, with a cleanliness and sharpness? It was really an urban/romantic tug of war,” said Kors, relating how during his travels this summer, including to lunch at Nobu Malibu, he noticed the reopened world “was a full-on fashion show” of women dressing up.

Modern glamour that moves is Kors’ forte, seen on a suntan matte jersey dance dress cinched with one of his wide leather belts, and a sharply cut, backless black bodysuit worn with a black tulle circle skirt swinging with so much floral pailette hand embroidery that one wanted to reach out and touch it.

He was right; being close up brought into focus the gorgeous tailoring on a white double crepe portrait collar coat dress, and the white laser cut floral embroidery on a forever balmacaan.

One of spring’s biggest trends, seen in nearly every collection this week so far, is the midriff-baring bra top. And Kors had plenty — in molded stretch crepe, cashmere as part of a charming twin set, and black floral lace matched to a circle skirt and worn by Paloma Elsesser.

What’s behind the bra top bonanza? Nineties nostalgia no doubt, a love for wearing workout clothes any and everywhere, but most of all, the body confidence revolution that already gave us naked summer 2021.

What a difference a generation makes! Letting go of all that angst and self-doubt would add years to so many women’s lives who grew up before now.

“We have a whole new mentality…a comfort in people’s comfort in themselves, and their self confidence and really being truly body positive,” Kors said. “We haven’t seen this embrace of bareness since I was a teenager. But when I was a teenager, if you weren’t Raquel Welch, you were not there. And now, it’s I like myself and really want to show some skin. I think it’s a wonderful thing to see and I”m happy we’ve been a part of it.”

Kors said he’s feeling energized by seeing the city through the lens of nieces and nephews who just moved to New York. “No negativity, just full steam ahead,” said his husband, Lance LePere.

“This generation coming in, they like to shop in a store, like to experience things, it’s all good,” Kors added, sharing a photo on Instagram of Addison Rae wearing a black-and-white check skirt and bandeau from his spring 1992 collection that she found at Resurrection Vintage. “It’s urban romance — and a bra top!”