Roaming through Donna Karan’s Urban Zen store, where the designer showed her latest in-season collection, is a transporting experience. Furniture, jewelry and art are culled from Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Bali and Africa, among other artisanal communities, in a vast curation of culture. It ties with the brand ethos focused on life (hers, specifically), travel and effortless dressing through it all.
Karan isn’t shy about the personal outfitting aspect, either. “I’m selfish, this is mine, nobody else’s,” she says with a laugh. “If other people want it, great, but I’m doing my own wardrobe!” It’s a highly enviable one. For her upcoming trip to Africa, she made easy-to-wear jumpsuits, tunics and dresses that transition from short to long with a hidden button. A wrap skirt maintained great versatility, with options to wear undone, tied at the front with a little bunching, or to the side for a wrapped effect. Featherweight statement necklaces made from combinations of leather, rubber and suede topped these off, while belt bags added a nomadic touch. Karan introduced shoes as well, ranging from low, wraparound sandals to high boots in lightweight suede.
For summertime in the Hamptons, she proposed a palette of black and white for free-flowing poplin shirts, including a standout black shirtdress that could be tied multiple ways for plays on volume, or worn loosely undone. Reversible coats, kimono jackets and ribbon jackets are meant to be layered and incorporated into a lifelong wardrobe.
For ease, everything goes with everything. There was a thread of ease and nonchalance to the construction, approachability in the earthy palette, yet everything was packed with character — Donna’s, that is.