Schoolgirls and career women, preppies and punks, party girls and artsy types—they all converged on the runway at DKNY, where Donna Karan aimed to reflect the sidewalk society of her beloved New York City.

Of course, Karan’s sidewalks are undeniably better-dressed than most. Her schoolgirl uniform, for example, is a neat fitted navy jacket over a crisp white shirt and flirty grey flannel skirt short enough to shock a nun. And the world would be a prettier place if more 9-to-5 types wore some of Karan's lovely, colorful outerwear, like the scarlet wool zipped coat or the soft, honey-colored mohair version. Even the downtown crowd that calls its own style shots could benefit from a pair of skinny black pants with just enough zippers to be hip (but not enough to be scary), or her black sweater with its chain-mail sleeves. There were plenty of other easily approachable items, like skinny Glen-plaid pants, black tuxedo jackets, fuzzy mohair sweaters and silky little skirts. Part of the delight came from the pretty, atypical fall colors—mint green, hot pink, gold, lavender, red—that made the collection distinct and different.

Karan uses the DKNY line almost as a sketch pad, a place where she dashes off ideas and trends that, for whatever reason, catch her eye. This season, that approach gave the collection an easy, casual charm that was hard to resist.