It was an instant hit of classic Donna walking into Donna Karan‘s airy showroom yesterday to preview the designer’s 2013 pre-fall collection. The city skyline seen through the floor-to-ceiling windows was a fitting frame to this black and white sculptural collection meant to be “tailored to life in the city,” according to the line sheets. The muted color palette (or lack thereof–there were a few flashes of brown and that was it) served to emphasize the cut and structure–sharply flared skirts, tightly tailored skinny pants and pencil skirts, jackets and and tops with origami-like folds (building on the Japanese influence we saw during the spring shows). It’s practical-chic: “Seven easy pieces with a sculptural take,” the line sheets state.
But for however stark and severe the collection might look, there’s an emotional, personal story behind it. It was inpsired by the work of Karan’s late husband, Stephen Weiss, on display now until December 23 in a retrospective entitled “Connecting the Dots” at Karan’s Urban Zen Center. Karan describes the exhibit in her own words on the Urban Zen website, writing “Behind every great woman is a greater man, and Stephan was mine.”