September 08, 2007
A few seasons ago, Donna Karan was expressing her conviction that young men were craving a collar and tie. It's young men her DKNY collection is aimed at, and this season it's ties she's given them. The collection's theme was "New York Art & Design," which was most obvious in the graphic blocking of the silk ties, especially when an orange hue (called "Popsicle") was set against black or gray for a vaguely constructivist effect. Given the concept, it seemed reasonably safe to assume the DKNY man has gone through his college phase, his hint-o'-grunge phase, and his vintage phase. He's now graduated to a "proper" job with a gallery or an architect, and he's dressing more smartly. Tailoring dominated the collection, in urban shades of gray: stone, cement, and newsprint. Cottons and poplins had a tech stretch factor, a tip of the cap to the casual/formal hybrid that is now ingrained in American menswear's vocabulary. Alongside the vibrant multi-options of the women's range, the men's clothes looked a little like an afterthought this season. Perhaps that's Karan's way of slyly suggesting that it's a woman's worldand men just live in it. Or maybe it's simply a case of men's DKNY in transition.