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NEW YORK — Donna Karan as filmmaker?

This story first appeared in the June 13, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Karan is bringing her “New York Stories” to the big screen, producing a short film for her DKNY label directed by Steven Sebring. The film highlights fashions from the fall 2002 DKNY collection.

“I’m a frustrated producer and director,” said Karan in a telephone interview this week. “I’ve done it in print. I’ve conjured up these movies in my head and wanted to do this for such a long time.”

The 18-minute film, with the tag line, “A Little Film About a Big City,” features a day in the lives of three women — an actress, writer and musician — played, respectively, by Angela Lindvall, Sophie Dahl and Michele Hicks. The film also has cameo appearances by Sylvia Miles and Lauren Ezersky. The movie was shot in and around New York City and features skyline shots as well as the Chelsea Hotel and Madison Square Park.

The film is strictly a vehicle for the ad campaign and was created by Karan’s ad agency, Laird & Partners, here. With some interesting twists, the movie shows how the three women get ready for a movie audition, book signing and musical tour. It will be presented to the press next Thursday night and can be viewed on DKNY’s Web site and at boutiques worldwide. The company has 48 licensed and company-owned stores.

Karan said her fall DKNY collection especially inspired her to do a film. Each of the models in the film wears multiple outfits and accessories from the fall DKNY collection.

“I never thought about my clothes. I always wanted people to see them in their real form. These are real clothes. It really captures the diversification of the spring line. The Donna Karan woman can be a downtown rock ’n’ roll type, an intellectual or an actress. Hopefully, it’s about the creative spirit and creating your own look,” she said.

Patti Cohen, executive vice president of global marketing and communications for DKI, declined to divulge the fall media budget, but said it was up 10 percent. According to CMR, DKNY spent $15.9 million on media in the second half of 2002.

The film was shot digitally, and photos were downloaded to be used for the company’s fall ad campaign. The ads will run in several magazines, beginning in August, including W, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and The New York Times Magazine. A 24-page outsert will be polybagged with the September Interview highlighting scenes from the movie, along with a copy of the movie on CD-ROM. The print images, which contain filmstrip borders, also will be used as wild postings in New York and Los Angeles.

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