THERE was a certain back-to-school cool going on at today’s DKNY show – the collection full of bright blocks of colour in sweatshirt, blazer and pleated or asymmetric skirt formation. Cobalt blue, turquoise and red, it was a solid and easily wearable offering with the make-up – eyeliner drawn all around the eye – proving to be the most adventurous and intimidating element. Collars were high, hems undecided and sleeves long and pulled over wrists so that there was a feeling of transition throughout – one part schoolgirl to one part grown-up but not quite sure which yet. It made for fun and awkward charm. Pay close attention and there were bejewelled slithers on those school skirts and pleats elsewhere faded to sheer.
Donna Karan has always been interested in tribes; from those that dwell on the Great Plains of Africa to others more youth centric, in New York City.
Sometimes it can lean too literally one way or the other but this season seemed to strike a perfect balance between the two. Call it ethnic tech, an idea that even carried through to the accessories, where the designer juxtaposed tribal chokers with rubberised watches.
Macro and mini stripes (a recurring theme already here in New York) and stretchy knitted tube skirts (another idea that we have already seen a lot of) communicated a young energy, especially when they came topped with Aertex bomber jackets or tiered raffia peplums. Add a palette that Karan described as a “vibrant spring mosaic” and it’s all sounding piled-on-complicated, but it was one of her most considered collections in recent history.
The finale looks, a series of all-white ensembles: bouncy Aertex fit and flare dresses, sweatshirts and crisp poplin shirting breezed in like a palate cleanser, all anchored with some pretty cool kicks – sneakers (of course) in case you had to ask.
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HAPPY Birthday DKNY! The all-American label that has been busy creating contemporary and sports-infused clothes for the past 25 years certainly had something to celebrate at its show today – for that’s a long time in fashion years.
The best way to mark such an occasion is, of course, to take a trip down memory lane and revisit your best bits, which is exactly what happened here with scuba-tight dresses and city-slick tailoring, utility vibes and plenty of DKNY logos – plus Karlie Kloss in red and current face of the brand Rita Ora to close. Well, it is its party after all.
“OLD school, new school, chic with street… sick to slick” read the show notes at this afternoon’s DKNY show. Entitled New York Mash Up, Donna Karan sent out a wardrobe of urban staples that many a hipster will want to wear right now, take the opening quilted black parka with furry hood, or any one of those fuzzy humbug-striped shearlings for starters.
Donna Karan is a woman who can tap into youth culture with ease, and that’s something that extends to all facets – from a status “it” sweatshirt emblazoned with a giant “D” or with sleeves streaming in sequin shards, to inviting Rita Ora to sit front row, or street-casting a show. Here, nightlife hostesses, professional skateboarders, biologists, students and artists mixed with the roll call of models – she knows what buttons to push, and crucially it never looks forced.
In addition to plenty of black (according to Karan, New Yorkers can never get enough), her palette felt collegiate with colour combinations of navy and Bordeaux and elsewhere, yellow and grey – but refreshingly rebellious and not dealt in a preppy way. A flirty, neon lace minidress was a surprise sighting in the mix, but like she said, this was a mash-up, reasoning, “There’s nothing better to wear to light up the city.” Few will argue with that.
Once her cool kids are done having fun with the more youth-centric elements of this collection, they can graduate to that winning three-piece trouser suit in grey marl complete with mannish overcoat, should of course, they ever feel the need to feel grow up.