Street art. At its height in New York in the Seventies and Eighties, when Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring became art stars, it was considered both popular and provocative. For spring, Donna Karan looked to the movement for inspiration. In her show notes, she said she wanted to “paint the town with urban chic,” which made for one of her more spirited collections.
She used graffitilike brush strokes, color splashes and random scribbles as patterns for silhouettes that subtly evoked the Fifties — most notably via colorful bra tops with matching skirts, either pencil or full. These looks had a sense of ease and artful whimsy, and gave a wink at Céline.
There were times when Karan veered off topic, though. The fringed red-and-white tweed cardigan and pencil skirt, though chic, read more matador than Manhattan. (Maybe she confused Spain with Spanish Harlem.)
Some of the beige ensembles — the chic cotton poplin shift with a silk organza pleated skirt, for one — demonstrated an earthy glamour. The run-of-show referred to the hue as “paper bag,” a charming touch. Her sky-high hats, though impossible to imagine on real streets, punctuated the lineup with whimsy.