Michael Kors has made himself out to be a widely recognized public figure around the world, not only as a fashion designer for his line MICHAEL KORS, but also as host of the television series Project Runway and Models of the Runway and recipient of distinguished awards such as the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the CDFA and the Fragrance Foundation’s FiFi Award for lifetime achievement. Kors’ efforts to maintain his presence in the public sphere is facilitated by social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Being able to communicate with customers and fans alike is important in keeping his popularity in the social world.
Kors tweets from his Twitter account using his full name, @MichaelKors. His tweets are very much directed towards promoting his fashion line and providing style suggestions. He also promotes the television series Project Runway, and includes pictures and clips from the show. In his article Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances, Hugo Lui assesses social network profiles as a medium of communication (Lui, 253). Lui explains that in order to understand prestige, you must understand the importance of group identification and expressive coherence (Lui, 258). Expressive coherence is key in avoiding destructive information that would discredit or disrupt the performance of the author. A taste performance expresses a “perfectly coherent declaration of interests” that attends to the popular culture of the group (Lui, 258). Michael Kors does just this in his performance on Twitter, including both links to the MICHAEL KORS fashion line website and uploading relevant pictures. For instance, below he retweets renown fashion model Heidi Klum, promoting the television series Project Runway which he co-hosts with Klum.
Kors is clearly expressing a prestige statement with his self-promotion and formality. Below are examples of tweets where he expresses his fashion sense, providing links to his clothing line…
The article I Tweet Honestly points to the fact that performance implies an audience, and Marwick and boyd introduce the lowest-common-denominator philosophy (Marwick, 126). Michael Kors incorporates this philosophy into his tweeting, avoiding controversial subjects and personal topics on this very public platform. Marwick and boyd explain that the lowest-common-denominator effect forces individuals to “only post things they believe their broadest group of acquaintances will find non-offensive” (Marwick, 122). The lowest-common-denominator philosophy allows Kors to keep up his high profile image on Twitter and other SNS while still expressing prestige and maintaining a large number of followers, 930,284 followers to be exact.
Zizi Papacharissi, in his article Without You I’m Nothing: Performances of the Self on Twitter, claims, “In constructing identities as performances, imagining, mimicking, and restoring behaviors become essential processes in assembling a performative repertoire” (Papacharissi). As Lui emphasized coherency, Papacharissi emphasizes the importance of consistency. She relates this to hashtags on Twitter, but this can also be applied to Facebook and Instagram. Michael Kors does not have a personal Facebook profile, rather a Facebook page with 2.1 million “likes”. His Facebook page makes sure to promote all ad campaigns created for the marketing of his fashion line. Many of these are shot on model Karmen Pedru, and as you can see she is featured on his Facebook page quite frequently in MICHAEL KORS clothing. He also uploads pictures of new merchandise like watches, sunglasses and fragrances for the upcoming season. He does not ever make references to his personal life on his social media network profiles, and plays a distinctive role as fashion designer and public figure. By only displaying a public performance, Kors avoids the problem of context collapse on social media networks.
After looking critically at Michael Kors’ social network profiles, you may wonder about his element of authenticity. Having worked at the Michael Kors corporate offices, I can tell you that Michael Kors is not maintaining this social presence himself. The social media networking staff of the marketing department schedules tweets, instagrams and facebook posts for multiple times throughout the day. They are creatively constructed by the marketing department of Michael Kors to promote his fashion company as well as Kors as a public figure. This is a strategy that many public figures use for self-promotion/ branding and is in no way deceitful. However, when assessing the authenticity of his social network profiles, one must take into account that Michael Kors is not displaying his personal self rather his public self, which can sometimes be very different in the world of fame.
A good, authentic takeaway about Michael Kors is clearly stated by Nicki Minaj in her song Dance, “You f*ckin’ lil whores f*ckin’ up my decors, couldn’t get Michael Kors, if you was f*ckin’ Michael Kors”.