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2012 July 26

From The Daily Dan: Beach it Like Michael Kors

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(NEW YORK) No designer channels summer quite like Michael Kors. After all, the Long Island native grew up amid a seasonal cocktail of broadwalk whites, luxe golds, and sunkissed tans. Is it a surprise, then, that Kors' favorite tunes consist of the Beach Boys on transistor radio, and that he got hitched off the coast of Southampton? BY ASHLEY BAKER

What was your first memory of the beach?
I grew up on Long Island, so I could see the Jones Beach Tower from my living room window. We belonged to a beach club in Atlantic Beach when I was really small. When I was around four or five, I would be surrounded by an army of women all day long. It was my grandmother, my mother, my great aunt, my mother’s sister-in-law, and my aunt. I was wearing lots of white and lots of navy. Back in those days, we weren’t wearing a lot of sunblock, so I looked really tan. I remember walking to a restaurant—the sand was so hot that your feet would cook. But when you’d get inside, and have some ice cream in the shade, everything would cool off. Now, my favorite place on the planet is always going to be on a glorious beach. It makes me exhale and feel renewed. If I could, I’d burn every shoe I own.

Did the beach style you saw as a child make a serious impression?
Oh yeah, big time! To this day, I’m addicted to white jeans—I wear them all year long. When I was growing up, women wore loads and loads of white, and lots of gold jewelry in the summer. All of the women in my family did, and the men, too, to a certain degree. There was also plenty of linen, and other crisp fabrics. The look was glamorous, but sporty.

What’s your beach uniform?
If I have a uniform in the city, I have one at the beach—Birdwell swim trunks, black—or if I’m feeling really out there, navy—Michael Kors t-shirts, and my aviators, whether I’m on the beach or the mountains. If I’m being good, I’m wearing one of my Hermès bucket hats in black, olive, or khaki. Add a pair of Havaianas flip-flops, and I’m ready to roll!

Which swim trend should disappear?
Unless you’re Brazilian, a full-floss backside on bikini bottoms doesn’t work for most women.

Are you a swimmer, or more of a lounger?
Well, I don’t think Michael Phelps has anything to worry about. I’m a believer in lounging, but I’m also one of those people who likes to go for a walk, and I’m constantly running into the water to take a dip. But after a few minute, I’m back to my trashy biography or tabloid.

What are you reading this summer?
I have a lot different bios going on. They’re my favorite thing to read at the beach. I just started the Mick Jagger one, I’m finishing up something on Chanel, and I’m halfway through Jane Fonda. They can be a how-to or how-not-to guide!

Do you have a pet peeve?
I’ve never understood the amount of furniture, blankets, baby stuff, and kid stuff you see strewn about the sand. Be respectful! You don’t need to bring your whole house with you!

Do you cocktail on the beach?
Oh, absolutely! When it’s hot, a vodka cran is pretty good...

What about beer?
Sure! I’m American—why not?

Do you picnic?
I might want something to quickly snack on, but a real lunch on the beach? No. I want to sit at a table.

What’s your SPF?
I’m a layering kind of guy. I use Coppertone everything, from 15 to 50, depending on the body part. Then I add a good old layer of Bain De Soleil on my leg or arm, because I love the smell and the color.

What was behind your decision to get married on the beach?
Your wedding day should be your ultimate day, so what could be better than being at Dune Beach in Southampton?

Is Dune your favorite beach in the Hamptons?
I love it! It’s an incredibly beautiful place—quiet and great for walking.  I’m fine without the bells and whistles. I don’t need concession stands!

What’s the best beach music?
I like everything, but especially really classic summer music. Give me the Beach Boys and I’m happy. When I was little and going to Jones Beach, it was the day of the transistor radio, and of course, now, with headphones, you’re in your own private studio. During that golden hour at the end of the day, I like something a little chill, so it could be Joni Mitchell. Anything that takes the day down and gives me that golden moment.

What are your vacation plans?
We’re mostly hunkering down in Water Island, but we always go out to the Hamptons a few times over the summer. In Water Island, we don’t have stores, roads, or cars, so for me, Sag Harbor is the big city. I just don’t want to get on a plane, since that’s what I do for most of the year!

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