Fashion is having a Donna Karan moment. Other designers have been referencing her jersey draping and velvet and silk chiffon gowns. This made witnessing Karan's 30th anniversary collection down on Wall Street—shivering alongside the likes of Katie Holmes, Hugh Jackman, and Rita Ora in the drafty raw space—extra fascinating. Which parts of her own extensive oeuvre would the designer find compelling? No sense in avoiding the Seven Easy Pieces, the collection of foundation basics that started it all back in 1984. And remember those ads from way back when that starred Demi Moore in molten gold velvet devoré? It was 1996, for those of you who've lost track, and, yes, those devorés got an update on Karan's runway tonight.
But don't call it a retrospective. More than anything, Karan said, it was a tribute to the city that made her: New York. That came across in the monochrome color palette—all black, gray, red, and white, with not a print in sight—as well as in her emphasis on sharp tailoring. She may be famous for the bodysuit, but Karan has always loved a jacket, and she didn't stint on them here. The best came with a crossover lapel buttoned at the collar and a leather belt cinching the waist. Karan avoided pants almost entirely, using thigh-high suede boots as stand-ins, and focused her efforts on skirts, often of the sheer variety. That was a puzzling choice, but luckily there was plenty to keep your attention on those jackets. Most fabulously: needle-punched cutouts and black jet beading designed to evoke the glinting lights of the city skyline.
All the while, photographer Steven Sebring's 360-degree images of a Donna Karan-clad body dancing and emoting played in the background. A body in motion tends to stay in motion.