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Michael Kors Talks Project Runway, Fall Fashion + San Francisco Style

San Francisco will receive a taste of New York Fashion Week on Wednesday, when the 29th San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary Fashion Show brings the fall 2010 collection of Michael Kors to the Westin St. Francis Hotel. As the featured designer for the annual fundraiser benefitting the San Francisco Ballet, Kors will touch down in San Francisco for the show and a private donor dinner that follows. We caught up with Kors before his visit for a quick chat about Project Runway, San Francisco style and the one classic piece we should all invest in.

You're known for creating clothing that's classically luxurious. What advice do you have for women who want to enhance their wardrobes with a few select pieces that are both classic and luxurious? Where should we spend the big bucks?

Invest in a great piece of outerwear. A fabulous coat will instantly update your wardrobe and make you feel great.

If Project Runway had existed back when you were starting out as a 19-year-old designer, would you have tried to get on the show?

I don't know that I would have tried out, but if I were on the show, I’m sure I would have won!

As a judge on Project Runway, you often deliver harsh reactions to the designers on the show. What's the harshest criticism you've ever received as a designer?

Too much criticism to mention, but the great part about fashion is that it moves on, moves forward, so today's review is tomorrow's trash. Luckily the praise has substantially outweighed the criticism.

Many in the fashion industry have faced struggles over the last two years. With that in mind, what do you find truly exciting and uplifting about the fashion industry today?

Again, it's constantly changing and evolving. Right now fashion is moving towards a period of chic, wearable sportswear, which is what I do, what I’ve always done, so it's a great time for me and my team.

What's your impression of San Francisco style?

Women in San Francisco appreciate quality. They are into investment dressing and relaxed glamour—everything I love! They're stylish without being a slave to fashion...that always works for me.

When it comes to fashion, what do we have to look forward to for fall?

Fall is all about easy, relaxed glamour. It's quintessentially American sportswear. 

If you had two absolutely free hours to spend in San Francisco, where would we find you?

I love visiting the De Young. Taking in the view at the Presidio. The Tonga Room and Tosca’s are crazy spots I adore, but with only two free hours in San Francisco, it's hard to make a choice.

What's next for Michael Kors?

I'm thrilled to be receiving the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in June. It's a huge compliment to be honored by peers in your industry, and I’m really looking forward to it.

The 29th San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary Fashion Show takes place at the Westin St. Francisco on Wednesday, April 28, 2010, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $175.

Want to view the Michael Kors fall 2010 collection, but can’t make the show? Saks Fifth Avenue hosts a Michael Kors trunk show on Thursday from 12-3 p.m. To attend, RSVP to 415-986-4300.