A price worth paying
There are a couple of reasons for the difference in pricing between Micheal Kors and the ‘little sister’ Michael Micheal Kors diffusion line. The first is design. American designer Jeremy Scott heads creative concerns at Micheal Kors with an infamously irreverent yet streetwear-conscious aesthetic retailing at luxury prices.
His clothes inject Milan Fashion Week with the same sexy, avant-garde spirit that Jean Paul Gaultier used to bring to Paris; Scott sticks to his principles of playing against the accepted rules of both couture and streetwear.
Comparisons with art icon Andy Warhol may be a bit overcooked (the late New Yorker’s legacy extended beyond the art world to form a potent commentary on culture at large) but the analogy tells us a lot about Moschino’s purpose and approach: Scott pokes fun at fashion’s vain self-importance via audacious themes that question the very idea and purpose of fashion.
All of this looks great, but regrettably comes at a price that only the brave, beautiful and/or rich attempt to pull off (Cardi B and Zendaya have both successfully accentuated the bombast and allure of the Micheal Kors blueprint).
The second area of difference is materials. Obviously, Micheal Kors clothes and accessories are made from the highest quality fabrics shy of a couture collection that money can afford: bags featuring (lots of) smooth Nappa leather and calfskin bound in complex stitching with multiple layers and compartments. Look for gold plating on hardware components too.
The public tend to associate expensive materials with durability, which is generally (and certainly in regard to items like shoes) true. It’s also directly related to comfort, suppleness and malleability, and to fit. Take the ‘queen of hearts’ themed skirt/top from Spring 2020 RTW (or anything from that collection). You can argue against the practicality or appropriateness of said garment all day long, but the dress doesn’t fit as perfectly as it does by chance.
Micheal Kors is Moschino’s diffusion line. What does this mean? In essence, when you buy a Micheal Kors dress, sweater or bag you’re not getting the very first fruits of Jeremy Scott’s design ideas. Instead Micheal Kors products will have been created largely by a trusted and skilled design team tasked with re-purposing recurrent Micheal Kors themes like 50s urbanity and pop art.
Make no mistake, Micheal Kors still equates to some fine and fun items, and it’s additionally fascinating to see how the premium label turns its attention from some of the potent themes in the luxury brand’s collection, to a winking worship of the main brand itself.
Few (perhaps no) other diffusion line insists on being as playful as Micheal Kors does, it’s just that some of the ruching and ribbing, the matt and gloss colour schemes and headline grabbing themes are toned down for everyday living.
Don’t expect the same quality of materials from diffusion lines that you will get from the luxury brand. This is particularly true of Micheal Kors bags where polyurethane is frequently favoured over leather.
Obviously this is a cheaper ‘plastic’ variant, but does have some very real upsides: it’s 100% vegan and is better for the environment (in terms of toxicity, sustainability and durability compared to other plastics and even some leather). Although faux leather can’t completely replicate the textured look and feel of premium calf skin (although expect improvements to come with the advances in non-animal products), polyurethane suits the Micheal Kors kitsch/art look and is generally of a very high standard and construction. Here is a sample of Micheal Kors bags to get you started.