SHANGHAI — Michael Kors is visiting Mainland China for the first time, and he's just starting to learn more about the energy of this city — and remind himself where he is.
"When I arrived, I was so jet-lagged that I fell asleep during the massage, looked out the window and thought that I was in Hong Kong and they changed the skyline. But then I saw the tower and I said: 'No we're in Shanghai,'" quipped the designer during an interview here Thursday.
Kors is in town to host a major "Jet Set" event at Hongqiao International Airport on Friday evening. Set in a private 30,000-square feet jet hangar, the event will feature a runway show of one-off pieces as well a large-scale video projection show. The latter, developed by 3-Legged Dog Art & Technology Center and Bureau Betak, will employ a combination of high-definition video, holographics, and special effects to "transport" the audience to three different locales: a city, a beach and a mountain resort. New York-based DJ collective The Misshapes will provide music for the evening.
The designer has already taken in a few of the city's key sights — including the iconic Bund waterfront - and gauged his celebrity status in the country. "There was definitely some excitement about my late night walk on the Bund," he said. "It's a nice kind of ‘recognized.’ I don't have to deal with, you know, paparazzi on scooters and all that jazz. People ask for a selfie, people ask for a picture, and they leave it at that."
Kors said he's impressed with what he has seen of Shanghai so far. "It has the bustle, the curiosity, the energy of a city like New York, which of course I love. I love people who are curious about what's new and what's next and I think this city is very much that," he observed, adding that he's hoping to check out a bit of the city's French Concession and do some ceramics shopping with what little free time he might have tomorrow.
"As much as I love fast, urban life, it's always nice to see it counterbalanced with a little bit of heritage…Around the world now…you really have to hunt for it," he said.
Thursday night the designer hosted an opening party at his new flagship, the brand's largest store in China. The new store, which opened in January, is located in the city's Jing An Kerry Centre, a newcomer on the city's retail scene.
The mall opened last year and has seen plenty of activity in recent weeks. Burberry and Abercrombie & Fitch moved in last month, joining the likes of Paul Smith, Emporio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Tory Burch is set to become Kors' neighbor in the complex.
The 6,000-square-foot store features a shimmering two-story facade reminiscent of a sequined gown. Designed by the brand's in-house team and New York-based architectural firm KPF, it is made up of screens of light-reflective facets.