Before I begin this review, I have to be completely honest in telling you why it’s taken a few days for me to write it. As an editor, it’s my job to be completely impartial when looking at a collection for you. I have to look at the collection from the wearer’s point of view: could you wear it? Would you wear it? How could/would/should you wear it? I find that easy to do in all aspects until a few designers come into play – one of them being Donna Karan.
I am (self-described, mind you) officially the world’s biggest Donna Karan fan. The opportunity to see my hero, the woman who inspired me to get involved in fashion in any way, in action live and in person was a dream come true. When I walked into Cedar Lake that afternoon (I wore vintage Donna Karan to that show, I want people to know that) I had to take a moment. Donna Karan is one of my heroes and it was an honor to be invited to review the collection.
I took these past few days to feel out an objective review of the show so you would get the benefit of not just my fanaticism but my actual unbiased opinion. Now that I’ve given you the former, let’s move onto the latter.
Let’s talk about the clothes.
The Donna Karan New York Spring 2012 Collection was inspired by Donna’s two loves – her frequent travel to Haiti as part of Urban Zen’s HOPE, HELP & REBUILD HAITI initiatives and sleek, urban clothes made to fit a woman in the best way possible every single time. The collection had a color palette and patterns that were tribal in nature with a nod to Haitian artist Philippe Dodar, as well as the actual landscape and artistry of the country. Dresses and separates in clay, earth, teak, bone, citrus and black moved down the runway to great reception. Even though the inspiration may have been tribal, Karan’s touch is unmistakable in the collection, with signature body-hugging designs, effortless draping, gorgeous origami-like gathering, and signature touches that speak of her artistic spirit (one leather cape jacket had laser cutting that looked like the markings tribal warriors make on their bodies and faces.)
Karan’s touch with accessories speaks to her long-standing love of sculpture, with wood, Lucite and wool working together to bring everything together. These are strong statements but still incredibly feminine. The Karan woman is a worldly woman, so no surprise that she would embrace these beautiful artistic expressions without apology. She’ll look good wearing them, thank you very much.
I was pleased to see that Karan could take on such a global view but still maintain the grass roots of why people come to her collections. With amazing body-conscious pieces that will soon travel the world on the bodies of take-charge women everywhere, I salute Donna for a gorgeous collection that we’ll no doubt see everywhere come spring. Bravo. Well done.