With Klein for two years, Hampton went to work with Michael Kors, another master of American sportswear, on the ICB line and then Kors for Michael Kors. Her praise for the man who has taken both Europe (for his Celine designs) and America by storm (he won the CFDA Women’s Wear Designer of the Year in 1999) is lavish: “He’s a wonderful person, fun to be with. He loves clothes.”When she met an American and decided to marry, “I gave Michael a season’s notice. He made my wedding dress from a Celine pattern.”Kors taught Hampton about luxury – luxury finishes, luxury materials – and injecting her own classic designs with a slight twist. “He used to say: “Where’s the Look?’ or “What makes it different?’ He made it all so much fun. Some people are soooooo serious.”
Hampton’s clothes are serious, but like Kors, she has injected them with wit and priced them well. The best pieces, so far, are the ones that are Kors-referential such as a chocolate brown, glove-leather tiered peasant skirt worn with a hand-knit, chocolate-colored sweater made from a triple-ply Italian cashmere. Delish. The dresses, meanwhile, in limited styles, are body-skimming and require some height and slimness.According to Hampton, her clothes would work for”obviously,Michael Kors cork someone who is working – hence the suits, but also someone with really strong taste, who is confident in her clothes.” And also someone with money to spend (although her prices are no higher for certain items than Klein or Donna Karan.
Jackets in 100 percent wool are $800; in silk and wool, $1,100; and in double-faced wool, $1,200.Michael Kors cork A lambskin leather jacket, unlined and butter soft, worked up in a chic, collarless, zip-front style, is $1,232, and a double-breasted peacoat with patch pockets, in 100 percent wool that has the feel of cashmere, is $1,254.While Hampton’s store is an oasis of calm, some of it was serendipitous. “I”m self-financed,” she says, “so to save money, I painted these walls myself. The store looks a lot more expensive than it was.” The money went into the garments, a fine investment. Hampton’s clothes bear her Kors / Klein pedigree. They are smart, chic, simple, luxurious.