Donna Karan named her Fall collection Pearls of Wisdom and recruited Erickson Beamon to design the pearl necklaces that accompanied all the looks and informed the show's all-neutral palette. Karan herself is more of an African bead kind of woman, and for many years she relied on the bold, sculptural jewelry of Robert Lee Morris for her runway. This show was a somewhat curious departure from all that. In addition to the jewelry, the models wore Grace Kelly topknots; some sported elbow-length gloves finished in deep swatches of fur, and others carried ladylike top-handle frame bags. As for the clothes, with the exception of two pairs of high-waisted draped jersey pants, she showed dresses, skirtsuits, and coats, along with a few filmy blouses with draped necklines that sometimes doubled as head scarves. Every look, without exception, had a nipped waist.

Karan launched a lower-priced lifestyle line on her pre-fall runway in December, so perhaps this was an effort to distinguish her signature collection from that, to dress it up. Or maybe she just felt like a change. The thing is, the icy blonde Hitchcock heroine is well-worn territory, even if the designer threw in some eighties power shoulders for a twist. Piece by piece, there were some great outfits—a fitted sheath with a portrait neckline, a mohair skirtsuit with a hint of sparkle, a couple of bold fur wrap coats—but this didn't have the spark of her more forward-thinking collections.