NEW YORK — Donna Karan considers herself a purist when it comes to well-being.
She was a yoga proponent long before it became fashionable; juice bars in her DKNY boutiques offer wheatgrass concoctions as a hydrating alternative, and even her DKNY's Be Delicious fragrance comes in the shape of a nutritious apple.
Now, the designer wants to step up that mood in her fashions, too. Donna Karan International is looking to intensify its Pure DKNY label, which was launched in stores under the DKNY umbrella in spring 1999. As part of that plan, the division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton will open stand-alone Pure shop-in-shops in select department stores worldwide for spring, and it's adding a complete collection of Pure accessories, shoes and men's wear to the women's wear and home collections. Down the road, there could even be freestanding Pure shops.
To underscore the Pure growth initiative, the company also created a separate brand book featuring a collage of black-and-white images depicting the lifestyle Pure represents.
"I think about my beach house when I think of Pure," Karan said. "It's part of you that's not urban and running around, it's the calm you, the comfort you. It's like hugging somebody. To me, pure and yoga stand hand in hand."
Pure's concept was conceived at a time when Donna Karan was looking to reconcile her life in the city with her weekends in the Hamptons. Karan and Jane Chung, executive vice president of DKNY Design, were looking for an even simpler system of dressing, with a more relaxed attitude and pieces that can easily be thrown on.
Mary Wang, DKNY's president, said Pure has been a small business since its launch, but it noticed a jump in sales during the past year-and-a-half.
"The sell-throughs had improved significantly," Wang said. "Last spring, they were in excess of 65 percent in department and specialty stores, and over 70 percent in our own stores. So we started talking to stores about separate Pure areas, and decided to expand it into other categories of men's, handbags and shoes."
For spring, the collection includes Japanese techniques from indigo yarn dyes to discharge prints and ikats. Fabrics are light and typically revolve around linens, cottons, chambrays, silks, washed wools and denims. For instance, the collection features chinos and slouchy pocketed silk linen cargos, some of which have elements such as floral prints or embroidery. "There is a system of dressing in Pure — the seven easy pieces," Karan explained. "That's why it seems so perfect to what we are."
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"