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Michael Kors Feels Much More at Home Designing American Sportswear than French Fashion

>> Don't expect to see Michael Kors, who was creative director at Celine from 1999 to 2004, manning a French fashion house again soon. Although it was Paris where he and longtime boyfriend Lance LePere (who started working at Kors as an intern in 1990) fell in love, they shared meals at the Paris outpost of New York restaurant Joe Allen. “We could have quesadillas, they had cranberry juice,” Kors told New York. “I don’t know that either of us was really accepting the French lifestyle."

Once, as Kors tells it, he walked out of the Bristol Hotel in Paris and saw a girl in a plain pair of trousers, a turtleneck, and slingback shoes; he thought: "Finally, a Frenchwoman I can relate to." He realized when she got closer it was his American friend, Aerin Lauder. “I never cottoned to the idea of people having this intimidation about Europe,” he continues. “Women say, ‘I wish I was French! They know how to tie scarves!’ ” He rolls his eyes. “Do we have the history and sophistication of Europe? No. But as much as everyone can sit in Paris and die over the experimentation, everyone is dying to take off their uncomfortable shoes, and they’re all wearing casual separates. Sportswear! American designers! I do feel a little responsible to be a flag-waver not just for what I do but for what American fashion stands for. Comfortable is not a dirty word.”

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