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Michael Kors Goes Full-On Preppy for Spring

The most commercially successful apparel brands are not always the most fashion-forward. Such is the case with Michael Kors, whose name has become globally synonymous with "American sportswear" and the "jet-setting" lifestyle.

For spring, Michael Kors looked to that most classic of American styles: East Coast prep. Garments were cut in traditional shapes: belted A-line dresses, crew-neck pullovers, full skirts and capris. But the elegance of those familiar forms was marred by the choice of fabrics, which alternatively called to mind Lily Pulitzer, Lauren by Ralph Lauren and J.Crew in the days before Jenna Lyons. There were too-bright florals in hot pink and green, and navy and soft pink, gingham in mint green, and an equally unattractive (albeit traditional) plaid used on shirt dresses and a pair of capris. Ugly fabrics can be appealing when cut and proportioned in interesting ways, but because Kors's shapes were so classic, they didn't work. The printed fabrics also didn't look nearly as luxe as the rich wools, cashmeres and furs of Kors's much-lauded fall 2014 collection.

That's not to say there weren't some good pieces: a denim car coat with three-quarter-length sleeves was quite elegant, as were a series of expensive-looking white crew-necked knits, some paired with full white skirts subtly embroidered with florals. Those garments embodied the glamorous side of prep, the side exemplified by the Kennedys and the generations of moneyed East Coasters who rode in convertibles and summered in Rhode Island. A contemporary take on that kind of prep would have looked very right for the Kors brand.

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