Donna Karan was emotional as she took her runway bow. She was nodoubt thinking about the 30 years that had brought her to this point,the ups and downs, about her late husband Stephan Weiss. She alsothought about the stress of the past 24 hours during which a series ofmishaps, horrible lighting test included, had her “freaking out.”

Karan should also have thought, “God, I just staged a beauty!” Indeedshe had. For this career-and-life milestone, Karan was in full-on citymode, sensual, urbane, focused. “I was so clear in what I wanted tosay,” she said after the show. “I wanted to show the strength of thewoman. I wanted to show that after 30 years I think we stand forsomething that is absolutely, iconically Donna Karan. I wanted it to be areflection of the past, and the present coming into the future. Iwanted it to be about art, the city, the body, movement, the strength oftailoring, evening.”

Before the show, Karan screened a film shecommissioned by Steven Sebring that was all blurred images of bodies inmotion, mesmerizing and elegant. Then came the show, opening with threeversions of her original building block — the body — now rendered asbody jacket and body shirt as well as bodysuit. These were worn withover-the-knee suede boots and night porter caps frothed with dollops oflong-hair shearling, giving the models the air of showgirls at adecadent yet refined nightclub. They set the stage for a parade of theBest of Donna, by which we mean less retrospective (though there wereelements) than Donna at her best, not letting earnest crossover from hersojourns get the better of her homegrown chic. She contrastedlight-as-air chiffon against substantial jackets and coats, some withartisanal elements — hand-punched patterns; graphic gold embroidery.This motif repeated again and again, varied by the shape and material ofthe toppers and the exquisite decorative flourish of the underpinnings.Among the coat options: sleek cashmeres, flamboyant long-hairshearlings and a genuinely sophisticated puffer.

Evening rocked,particularly those gowns with fluid, translucent skirts that waftedprovocatively over bodysuits and bare legs. Some were beaded incelebration of New York’s night sky. “I have the honor of looking at thecity lights from my apartment every night,” Karan said. “This place isso, so beautiful, and I wanted to capture that.” Done. And dazzling.

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