Though DKNY sells globally in cities and suburbs alike, the best part of Donna Karan's Spring collection seemed to address the perennial conundrum of what to wear for summer in this city. It's tough to strike a balance on those dog days: Go for comfort and you look as if you'd rather be poolside, yet an attempt at polish can yield a sweaty mess.

Karan's answer is smart, unadorned silks cut loose and breezy, like dolman-sleeved shirts with drawstring shorts and mullet-hemmed slipdresses—both on-trend and practical, since there's nothing to impede a city strut. The adorable, white-soled, matchy-matchy wedges also had pavement-pounding appeal. And to cover up: a sporty anorak, a classic brass-buttoned blazer, or just a chic, wide-brimmed sun hat.

The black and white group that opened the show felt like a fresh idea for Spring, and the silhouettes cycled through various colors including a patriotic and peppy red-and-blue and a Marimekko-esque floral. Though for prints, the cooler option was a smudgy floral that could almost masquerade as an animal print.

No designer fetishizes New York like Karan. With her show falling on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, her usual upbeat paean to the city was, depending on your viewpoint, either poignant or slightly jarring, as models streamed in off the street against the backdrop of a yellow cab topped by a DKNY advert. But life and fashion must go on.