Donna Karan spent the last year traveling to Haiti and her resulting spring collection, titled "The Artisan Stroke," was heavily inspired by what she saw there. "My two worlds come together...translating the vibrancy of tribal elements into sophisticated, sexy urban clothes," the line sheet read.
The collection--tribal-printed cotton canvas dresses with flared circle skirts, appliqued body-con shifts, ruched silk viscose jersey dresses--was anchored in an earthy palate of browns, blacks, bones and clays and seemed particularly poignant given the inspiration. The standout pieces for me were the floor-length stretch jersey evening dresses as I thought they best infused Donna Karan's classic relaxed feminine elegance with the tribal theme. Karan looked to Haitian artisans when creating her accessories, too, calling them "tribal tech." There were hand-carved platform wedges, beveled bangles in wool and lucite, and big awesome statement necklaces made of shards of wood and lucite. She also name-checks artist Philippe Dodoar as the inspiration for her prints.
Wyclef Jean, whose charity work for his home country is well known, was sitting front row, and Karan stopped to kiss him on the cheek when she took her finale walk. Jean told me after the show he thought the collection was an "epiphany" and brought out the "sexy side" of Haiti. Well said.
Video courtesy VIDICOM **All images: Imaxtree