NEW YORK -- Donna Karan is turning over a new leaf for fall, and like most fall leaves, it happens to be a colorful one.
Karan parted ways with Peter Arnell earlier this year after a nine-year collaboration. This fall, therefore, will be the company's first season on its own. And while the fall budget for both DKNY and the Collection is on par with a year ago at $5 million, there will be major esthetic changes in the creative approach.
For the first time, Karan's DKNY campaign will break out of its traditional black-and-white mold and add color photographs.
Striking color and black-and-white shots of New York -- including orange construction cones, bright yellow taxis, green and red traffic lights, women on subways and Wall Street executives on in-line skates -- were photographed by Peter Lindbergh.
"We needed a totally fresh approach. That's why I think the color was so important," said Trey Laird, creative services director of Karan's in-house ad agency.
The theme is New York, not a new one for Donna Karan, but one that hasn't been emphasized as much as it should be in the DKNY ads, said Laird.
"It's been everything we're about since the beginning. It's been a part of everything else we do, but we haven't put it in our ads," he said. The last few DKNY campaigns were shot on a beach or in a theater.
The new ads will feature models Beri Smither, Lucie de la Falaise, Mark Vanderoo and Paul Mason.
The DKNY photographs will be incorporated into an eight-page gatefold that will appear in The New Yorker in August, as well as the August issues of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, W and Vanity Fair. Single pages and spreads will appear throughout the fall in various magazines.
Outdoor ads will continue to play a significant role. The company is negotiating with Gannett Transit to purchase "car cards" -- the space that appears overhead on the subway and shuttle walls. It will also advertise on bus shelters, billboards and telephone kiosks. In London, double-decker buses will carry the DKNY message, heralding the arrival of Karan's new DKNY shop at 27 Bond Street that is slated to open Sept. 16."We are in the process of bringing New York to Europe," said Karan. "New York is what we're about -- the energy, the logo."
Karan said the campaign's concept, derived from the colorful fall DKNY collection, carries through the video, mailers and store catalogs.
DKNY is not the only campaign that's changing.
After nine years of using Rosemary McGrotha as the exclusive Karan model in the Collection ads, Karan will add other women. In addition to McGrotha, the fall campaign features models Linda Evangelista and Isabella Rossellini, actress Donna Mitchell and Italian journalist Benedetta Barzini, women of various ages.
Inspired by her fall runway show, which included an eclectic group of models, actresses and retailers of all ages, Karan wanted to reflect that diversity in her campaign.
"When all the women got together for the show and put [the clothes] together their own way, it got Donna all excited," said Laird. "She feels it's not modern anymore to show how one woman wears it. She loved it when women made it their own. We turned the whole concept into a campaign."
The ads will include a letter from Karan about the future of fashion and how it's about "personal style," not "designer dictates."
The fall Collection ads were photographed by Steven Meisel, and will appear as a multipage insert in the September issues of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, W and Vanity Fair, as well as several European editions of Vogue.
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