Forget boho. Forget embellishments. Designers have cleaned up their acts, ushering in looks that are stark, airy and simple.
DKNY: Compared with last season's eclectic overload, there was far more physical and visual breathing room at Donna Karan's Monday presentation of her DKNY collection. "You know when you just want to feng shui and clean house?" asked Karan, moving nimbly between the mannequins set up in the airy, glassed-in lobby of the Lever House. Why yes, in fact, and judging from the crowd murmurings, others agreed with the designer.
Karan's house-cleaning appears, by early indications, to be the order of the day all around. Finally swinging away from embellishment to the nth degree, there was nary a jewel or bead to be seen. Still, as she was quick to point out, Karan hasn't scrubbed away the sensuality or detail, though the latter was restricted to flat pleats on chiffon dresses and belts tied into bows that were more stark than sweet. Instead, those elements showed up in a form so stripped down that even dresses in a silver-touched eyelet, and collarless coats and fullish skirts in a graphic floral print, shed their romantic connotations. Of course, few know better than Karan that sometimes a girl just needs a good basic, so those same floral coats are reversible to a solid hue. And another staple — dark blue and white denim — was barely recognizable in two sleekly tailored baby-doll dresses. Leave it to Karan to once again deliver clothes that don't make modernity and femininity mutually exclusive qualities.
Ellen Tracy: Designer George Collins Sharp decided to take Ellen Tracy in a new direction for spring, preferring a clean and simple aesthetic over the rich and baroque direction of last season. Sharp favored a nautical look, and he started the show with stark, navy-and-white pieces, including free-flowing pants, a sharp peacoat and cute, striped sailor knits shot with Lurex. Sharp's best moments were when he played graphic against print, as in the aforementioned sailor knit, this time in beige and white topping an ombréd full floral skirt. A flirty aqua paisley halter dress was a noteworthy choice for the girl who wants to surrender all that boating gear for a fun frock. Sharp should show some styling restraint, however, when combining colors such as aubergine and lavender into monochromatic looks that didn't ring modern or fresh.
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