The Artisanal Side Of Donna Karan

Backstage at the Donna Karan
Backstage at the Donna Karan

New York, NY–NY Fashion week has ended, but in Donna Karan’s loft-like store at 705 Greenwich St. in the West Village, you feel as if you’re in a different era.  Her new collection reflects nomadic travel, inspired by the designer’s own passion, which has taken her around the world and back.  Influenced by global ancient artisans, a modern urban wardrobe is born here, for the on-the-go woman with an international lifestyle.

The show offered a true sensory experience which left nothing to the imagination.  Lights, sound and perfumes from faraway African lands were conveyed within.

You can touch and try on the quilted Kimono jacket which echoes the urban warrior, iconic suede and crepe leggings, a glamorous goat hair shrug, cashmere, reversible suede-to-shearling knits, and long unique leather and suede necklaces handcrafted by Haitian craftsmen.  While trying on Donna’s signature belt bag to tie it all together, she arrived, smiling, ready to help us try on her creations.

“In a few weeks I will be visiting the Apulia region.  I love Italy- my daughter married an Italian.”  As we know, Gabby (Karan) and Giampaolo De Felice own the Italian restaurant hotspot “Tutto Il Giorno,” both the city version in Tribeca and the beach version in Southampton.  Donna commented that she sources her textiles from the area surrounding Perugia and that she feels very badly about the tragedies that resulted from the earthquake.  Meeting Donna in this way, it was immediately clear that her interest in others’ well-being doesn’t end with her family or her work- it expands far away to encompass the world.

Returning back to the show, Karan noted that she was not surprised that other designers have chosen SEE-NOW-BUY-NOW.  She explained “everything is accessible to us – here, today, this minute, not six months from now.  We present the experience of our Fall 2016 collection in September to the press and directly to the consumer, all at once, without a delay.  I’ve always said that’s how a customer wants to shop, and that’s how I’m showing.  The new season is in season.  Enjoy.”

Donna Karan’s West Village loft, with its upstairs living space and an Amazonian garden, is the place where the fashion designer can focus on her work, surrounded by the sculptures of her late husband, artist Stephan Weiss.  Besides work, luncheons and parties, Donna hosts meetings for her charity Urban Zen Center and very special yoga retreats in her loft.


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