Is Michael Kors the new Ralph Lauren?

We ask this question because a few things were apparent at his AW14 collection this week. The overall style and colour palette looked inspired by the American history books: The great depression meets prairie meets forties luxury. This is all familiar territory for Ralph Lauren. But what allowed Michael Kors' status in American fashion to soar in the past few years is, thanks in part, to the TV show Project Runway, in which he was a judge (although he has been replaced by Zac Posen). Being watched by millions of people weekly has placed Kors on the mass radar as the go-to for affordable luxury. Then his company went public last year, making Kors a billionaire, like Ralph Lauren. Kors' estimated worth is $1bn while Ralph Lauren's sits at $6.5b*. Lauren made much of his wealth from licensing, something Kors is quite savvy at doing already. The Ralph Lauren retail experience is all about being part of an elite club - the country club, the safari retreat, the ski lodge - while Kors is eager to open his doors to everyone by pricing high enough to be aspirational. At last count, his store count came to 476. So it will be interesting to see what is next from Michael Kors and if he can eclipse brand Lauren.


Blake Lively at the Michael Kors AW14 show in New York, February 12th. Image via Destination Kors. *Source Forbes.