Donna Karan's signature label is turning 25. That gave her the opportunity to do some looking back, though not in too obvious a way. Yes, the better part of her Fall lineup was black, not unlike her career-making Seven Easy Pieces collection. And, sure, there were plenty of stretchy leotards and tights. But Karan made sure this wasn't a greatest-hits moment. Instead, she rather brilliantly picked up the twin preoccupations of her last two collections, namely sculpted tailoring and draped dresses. What's new—and spot-on for the season so far—is the designer's focus on dense, nubby texture.
Working a somewhat fuller, away-from-the-body silhouette than she has of late, she showed cocoon coats with sculptural shawl collars and short bubble skirts in tactile wool and double organza. Sack coats came in printed lynx fur, black-and-white tweed seamed in contrast satin, or laminated wool that had been treated to evoke a rain-soaked New York pavement. For a city weekend, there was a yummy, heavy-gauge cashmere-wool cardigan. But the most compelling texture, not to mention the one requiring the most technical savvy, was a shearling laser-cut to resemble lace.
On the soft side of the equation, Karan draped electric blue washed duchesse satin into a short, strapless bubble dress. The real stunners, though, had a more body-loving cling. Her front-row power triumvirate of Susan Sarandon, Demi Moore, and Brooke Shields, who chatted and giggled throughout the show, seemed to perk up at the sight of floor-scrapers rendered in stretch hammered satin with a plunging cowl neckline or silk/wool mikado with an asymmetrical tucked bodice. Something to wear to the Oscars, perhaps?