59 posts tagged "Donna Karan"
Steven Kolb was at breakfast this morning at the place he called “the best store in the city”: ABC Carpet and Home. As of now, the furniture and housewares landmark will offer a curated selection of sustainable pieces by CFDA designers, including those who have won the annual CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge, which awards $25,000 prizes to selected designers whose businesses are at least 30 percent sustainable. “Fashion is about change, and these designers are at the forefront of this idea that eco-fashion doesn’t have to be branded independently,” Kolb said today, toasting the 2011 and 2012 winners: Marcia Patmos, John Bartlett, Johnson Hartig of Libertine, Pamela Love, Melissa Joy Manning, and Victoria Bartlett of VPL. Their collections were on display alongside those of Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, and Loomstate’s Rogan Gregory and Scott Mackinlay Hahn.
Sustainability tends to flow in and out of the fashion conversation—”People don’t realize that we manufacture in New York City with stones that are sourced ethically, because it’s not really part of our branding,” Love said, “but I started my jewelry line in my house in Brooklyn because I didn’t realize there was any other way to do things”—but the CFDA is hoping to bring it to the fore. For that, Patmos said, “The shop is really great because it makes the whole thing tangible.” She was so excited at winning the award, she added, that she’d wanted to jump up and down. “But I was at my desk when Steven called me with the news, so I had to contain myself.”
“I think what the students have in common is that they each have an individual voice,” said Shelley Fox, the director of the new MFA Fashion Design and Society course at Parsons School of Design. The course is the first of its kind in New York. And on Saturday, at Made Fashion Week at Milk Studios, its first 18 graduates (hailing from 13 countries) sent the fruits of their labor down the catwalk. Donna Karan, who was a strong supporter of the course and instrumental in its inception, turned up to cheer on the grads. “Although I was a student at Parsons, I found myself hiring a lot of people from Louise Wilson at Central Saint Martins in London and I said, ‘Wait, how come we don’t have a graduate program in New York?’ ” said Karan. Wilson herself crossed the pond to attend the show. She shared the front row with the likes of Fern Mallis, Julie Gilhart, and Bill Cunningham—not a bad turnout for a student production.
The show opened with looks by Lucia Cuba. With a background in social psychology, the Peruvian designer created a sartorial expression of activism, commenting on women’s issues and politics in Lima. The clothes combined 1950s silhouettes with prints of women’s crotches or pictures of a young Alberto Fujimori (a dictator who has been jailed for human rights abuses). Paula Cheng’s collection of webbed, multitextural silver and gray knits was another standout (pictured).
Students explored concepts of deconstruction and reconstruction (like show-closer Talia Shuvalov’s sweatshirts embellished with vintage tees that she took apart and rewove, or Jun Juyeon Hong’s impeccable wool suiting that featured unexpected lines, layers, and cutouts) and minimalism (like Beckett Fogg’s embossed leather and chiffon collection, or Noriko Kikuchi’s ethereal white looks based on emptiness) and showed no fear when it came to color. Liverpool native Carly Ellis was particularly courageous in her sporty, techno looks. Backstage, the purple-haired designer explained that she was inspired by vivid tourist pictures she snapped in New York as well as fragmented Skype images and the geometric painting rituals of South Africa’s Ndebele tribe. Sinéad Lawlor’s tailored button-photo print collection, which featured smart suiting combined with knitting techniques and lace, was another colorful offering. Each of the collections was conceptually rich and, at times, complicated, but many of the designs seemed not only wearable but sellable, too.
Robert Lee Morris. The first name—or three—in costume jewelry blazed a new path for contemporary fashion accessories when he launched his namesake collection in 1971 with big, bold, tribal-inspired pieces that attracted the attention of retailers, press, and fellow designers. He went on to collaborate with some—Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, and most famously Donna Karan, with whom he designed jewelry for 28 of her collections. After a brief stint in the fine jewelry sector, Morris is now relaunching his eponymous brand with Haskell Jewels (as in Miriam). The prices are lower—ranging from $150 to $1,000—but the iconic RLM look is all the same. Style.com sat down with Morris to talk old days, newcomers, and what stood between him and Tom Ford, and to take an exclusive first look at a few of his new pieces.
Robert Lee Morris relaunches this September at Bergdorf Goodman, Kirna Zabête, Morris’ Soho store, and www.robertleemorris.com.
How is this collection different from anything else you’ve done?
The thing that makes this collection different is that it is primarily affordable. It’s constructed of solid cast brass, which is a wonderful metal; I’ve always used brass in everything I’ve ever made, because I can get big, bold shapes and I can do anything with it. With the economy being what it is, it makes more sense to shift my entire direction towards the affordability and my desire to want more people to have my work, and that’s the big difference. I’m able to distribute my work at a much more affordable price without losing its signature look.
How has the costume jewelry industry changed since you got started 40 years ago?
It’s come full circle. When I started, it was the beginning of a revolution that I was very much a part of. Similar ideas were happening in Japan, Europe, and America—of creating jewelry that was challenging and full of content. That was the beginning of the designer-artist jewelry movement. That has never died, though it’s certainly had some low points. When I started, it was a heyday and opened many doors; retailers went crazy for it. Then in the nineties we had the complete opposite: All shows of wealth became a no-no. The recession hit hard, the Gulf War was going on, the stock market crashed. Everything that was fabulous and wild in the eighties came to a screeching halt. Nobody wanted to spend money on anything that wasn’t just pure “meat and potatoes” safe, and my range of the jewelry business collapsed. Then in 1995, Tom Ford at Gucci started showing Halston-esque, sexy, body-hugging clothing, and the next thing you know, we’re back in business. It was a revival and we didn’t do anything. I didn’t think I was even old enough to have a revival. The creativity is still not 100 percent back yet, but there’s been a slow return in costume jewelry of big, bold, fun-to-wear, wacky, crazy things. Designers who were once subtle are kicking it up ten notches to crazy. Continue Reading “Costume Drama: Robert Lee Morris On The Relaunch Of His Namesake Brand” »
“I was in Haiti for my very first time,” says the designer and big-time Haiti activist Donna Karan, “and I got back to my hotel one day and saw this amazing artwork on the walls. I said, Oh my God, who did this?” As it turned out, the artist was leading contemporary Haitian artist Philippe Dodard, and he happened to be standing right behind her at that moment. (Apparently, timing really is everything.)
After that chance meeting, Dodard’s strong graphic ink wash paintings became the inspiration for Karan’s Spring 2012 graphic collection of body-hugging dresses and full skirts (of which a portion of the sales benefited the artisans of Haiti). More recently, the pair combined their artistic efforts for a new exhibition at North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), entitled The Luminous Breath of the Human Spirit. On display, there are six dresses from Karan’s Spring collection (pictured, left) and 37 works by Dodard (who now serves as the general director of the National School of Arts in Haiti). “I want to create art that awakens rather than satisfies the mundane desires of the clientele—art that embodies different answers to our human problems,” Dodard tells Style.com of his work. That is the bigger picture to this ongoing partnership between Karan and Dodard (they have collaborated on design and metal projects through initiatives of her Urban Zen foundation, and both contributed to photographer Russell James’ Nomad Two Worlds multimedia project, which has been showcased around the world and is now on display at Urban Zen)—the duo is revitalizing and rebuilding Haiti through art.
“I have always said that the answer to Haiti is in the hands of the people,” says Karan, who, since meeting Dodard, has been back to the country countless times. “It’s the artists, the most creative people, who will revive it.”
The Luminous Breath of the Human Spirit is on display through June 20 at MOCA, 770 Northeast 125th St., Miami, Fla., (305) 893-6211. To learn more about Karan and Dodard’s collaborative efforts, visit UrbanZen.org.