It’s no secret that Donna Karan loves the look and spirit behind artisanal craftsmanship from the far reaches of the world. As a designer, she’s increasingly drawn to celebrating such work.
Karan’s program notes for her spring collection promised an urbane exploration: “How to turn the sensuality and ease of a hand-blocked scarf into a chic urban wardrobe of day-into-night options.”
At the start, she delivered beautifully, her languid dresses and separates in moody indigos looking as inviting as their stated inspiration of blue water and skies. Lean dresses were kept relaxed via fabric selection — stretch jersey and georgette — and Karan’s graceful, slit-to-there paneled cuts and low-slung wide brown leather belts added to the earthy elan. The block prints and a hand-painted python jacket looked enticing in their mesmerizing blue hues, while a short embroidered wrap skirt worn with a silk skirt injected a sporty element.
All oh so lovely. Then came palette part two, the “sunsets and sunrises…and sunbaked” — all codes not for rich russets, yellows and reds, but brown. Brown and more brown (and some terra-cotta), some block-printed with black. It was not only a downer, but one too familiar — which is a shame, as many of Karan’s shapes, particularly the soigné gowns, were beautiful.
As for Karan’s accessories, they looked great — the bold belts and metal and leather jewelry, and her apparent favorite: a terrific big cutwork shopper she liked enough to carry for her bow.