The basic divide in the house that Donna Karan built has traditionally been main collection for work, and secondary for play. Today's show notes promised Poetic Rebellion, inspired by the Beat Generation, but there was something quite efficient and polished here that read more office-bound than On the Road. It was partly the effect of all that black—a perennial Karan favorite and quintessential New York hue. But it was also several smart looks like a little leather skirtsuit or a boxy wool jacket with leather sleeves over narrow, creased trousers, not to mention the equally smart accessories like glossy leather portfolios with shiny gold hardware. The models' barely-there makeup and sleek, side-parted ponytails completed the picture.

It was by no means all business in the vein of one of the many labels out there with the purpose of outfitting young professionals. There was a hard-edged frisson of sex—more Paris than New York—in the animal prints, flippy skirts, wide pointy-edge belts, and loads of leather trim. Though for a creative job, you could do worse than a simple long mohair navy sweater over a leather trumpet-hem skirt. But then all work and no play… A floral grouping, which included the now ubiquitous head-to-toe print suit, took care of that.

Perhaps in a quest for grown-up polish, Karan attempted to lay on the luxury quite thick in beastly shearlings with croc-stamped leather. But it pushed the quest for sophistication just a notch too far, like a little girl playing dress-up. By comparison, an unadorned but nicely tailored fuchsia wool coat felt miles more confident.