Inside Michael Kors’ New York City Penthouse – Situated in Greenwich Village, Michael Kors and husband Lance Le Pere have a luxurious penthouse where they live a sophisticated yet down-to-earth life.
Michael Kors is synonymous with uptown, jet-set chic, but the truth is, since he moved to Manhattan from Merrick, Long Island, to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, the designer has only ever lived downtown. He launched his business in 1981 out of a modest apartment in Chelsea. “There were initials on the fire escape that read hs, so we used to say, ‘It’s High Society!’ ” he says. After that, he moved to West 28th Street, on a block known for its wholesale shops.
He’s been staying near Greenwich Village since 1983: “I’ve moved numerous times, but always within a five-block radius.” A lot can happen within the distance of a few city blocks. As Kors’s business has skyrocketed, so have the scale and ambition of his homes. The current apartment has been fully customized, down to the hidden sliding doors that allow it to morph from an open space to fully compartmentalized.
One of the biggest perks of the space is the lush terrace with amazing unobstructed views south to the World Trade Center, west to the Hudson River, and amazingness in every direction. Kors quite literally has the world at his feet.
This house was a result of a collaboration with S. Russell Groves, who had previously collaborated with Kors and Le Pere on three other spaces. “Michael knew me more for my work in retail, but what really attracted his eye was a small house I had in East Hampton. He said the combination of very clean with touches of warmth and texture was exactly what they were looking for.”
“We wanted a casual formality,” says Kors, “that tug-of-war between practicality and indulgence, comfort and rigour. If it’s all one or the other, I’m bored. I can appreciate walking into a room that’s magnificent and formal the same way I can appreciate someone in an infanta gown with serious hair and makeup, but at the end of the day, both Lance and myself are too relaxed and too American to actually live that way. If I could live my life barefoot, I would be in heaven.”
Stepping off the elevator, guests enter a small vestibule, which leads into the gallery. “A lot of residences now, the elevator opens and you just fall into the apartment. We wanted some kind of transition,” he says. Some transition it is, given the couple’s photography collection. A Richard Avedon image of Suzy Parker greets you on one wall and a Mario Testino of Carolyn Murphy on another. Kors calls it the Pretty Woman room.
New York City is a recurring theme throughout the home. “This is claustrophobic, but come in,” Kors says, disappearing into the powder room. “I always think if you’re going to go into the powder room, you want something to talk about.” On the walls are Polaroids Andy Warhol took at Studio 54 of everyone from Lauren Hutton to Grace Jones; Jackie Kennedy’s hand-written notes on her upcoming wardrobe. “It’s the New York I moved to,” the designer muses of the nostalgia. “I went to Studio 54 instead of my prom.”
The bedroom leads into a spacious closet with custom oak cabinetry. “I always say there are two kinds of stores,” the designer observes. “There’s the souk experience, where you have to dig. And then there’s the store where you can see everything quickly. Too many people in New York, unfortunately, because of space, have the souk. We wanted our closet to be shoppable for a fast life.”
In the master bath, a monolithic marble tub is centred in front of a picture window. From their sky-high vantage point, Kors and Le Pere have the rare pleasure of seeing out without worrying that anyone in the low neighbouring buildings can see in. “When a cruise ship goes by, it looks like an entire city block is moving,” says Kors. “It’s a real indulgence. Space and light are the greatest luxuries in New York.”
Source: Architectural Digest