Right now, the only thing hotter than a fresh-off-the-New-York-runway Michael Kors dress is a visit from the sartorial genius himself.
But hold on to your hats, ladies. He’s coming to Naples.
In a surprise announcement made Tuesday by the Naples Botanical Garden’s chairman of the board, James A. LaGrippe, Kors was named as the presenting designer for this year’s Hats in the Garden party, set for Nov. 15. The annual luncheon soiree, which is considered by many to be the kickoff event of the Naples social season each year, also is the garden’s largest fundraiser. Last year’s party alone netted over $300,000 for the 170-acre property.
“Michael Kors just IPO’ed his company, if you can only imagine how difficult it is to get on this man’s calendar you’ll understand how exciting this is,” said Jay Hartington, co-owner of Marissa Collections. The iconic Third Street South boutique is credited with snagging the iconic ready-to-wear designer for the garden’s event, thanks to a relationship with Kors that goes back 28 years.
“My mother and he have a very long working relationship,” says Hartington, adding, “I believe Marissa Collections is Kors’ longest standing retail relationship in the world.”
Which obviously came in handy, as Kors is — at least for the moment — one of the “it-est” among “it” designers. With an initial I.P.O that sold like it, well, wasn’t going out of style, and a Fall 2012 collection that garnered rave reviews at New York fashion week last week, Kors is definitely U.S. fashion’s golden child. That’s good, too, because gold is in for 2012.
“I’ve only met Michael Kors once,” says event co-chair Kathleen Kapnick, adding, “yet he seems to know exactly what I want to wear.”
And while for Kapnick it will be exciting just to meet and greet the famous designer, what’s almost more exciting is seeing just how well the Hats in the Garden event has grown.
“We always knew it was going to get bigger,” she says, reminiscing about the early years of the event, when the garden was little more than a small corner on Bayshore Drive planted with a few big ideas. She adds, “Look how far we’ve come. It’s just so exciting.”
Jane Purdey Berger, Kapnik’s co-chair for this year’s event and one of the founders of the original Hats in the Garden, agrees.
“Michael Kors is currently one of the most exciting designers in the world. To have him here at our event, it just elevates the event that much more.”
Elevating the event will hopefully translate to elevating the grand total from the party’s net proceeds — ultimately, helping the garden grow.
Which is something Berger is supremely committed to, saying, “The Naples Botanical Garden will one day be a world-class destination. And it’s a destination that rounds out the offerings of Naples. We want Naples to be a world-class city, for both the people who live here and the people who visit here, that’s why we’re so committed to this garden.”
For more information on Naples Botanical Garden and its events, such as Hats in the Garden, call 239-643-7275 or visit www.naplesgarden.org.