DKNY Fall 2009 Collection Review - Modern Sophisticate

DKNY’s aptly titled Fall 2009 Collection “Modern Sophisticate” personified an effortlessly overlapping aesthetic that has become synonymous with the collection’s namesake. The presentation seamlessly blended modern silhouettes and design details with a sophisticated mélange of palette and patterns. Donna Karan’s clothes are always quite forgiving; she makes no apologies for a womanly hourglass figure—flattering, accentuating, and celebrating every sensual curve! The designer who has defined urban chic and more specifically the quintessential New York woman for more than twenty years, continued to make the old and familiar feel new and unexpected with 44 of the season’s most cosmopolitan looks. The runway show opened with a remix of “Mercy” by Duffy, and “Roxanne” by The Police, closing with The Stripes’ “Last Night.”


In a fantastic transition from last season’s vigentennial celebration, the autumnal collection was abundant with strong color combinations, exaggerated prints, and architectural elements. Last September the former Anne Klein Creative Director toasted the brand’s 20th anniversary with champagne (a bottle was left on each tentside seat), a tribute montage, and a fantastic runway extravaganza at Bryant Park. This season brought the award-winning designer and philanthropist back home to the West Village studio she built with her late husband and business partner, acclaimed-sculptor Stephan Weiss. Tucked away on the charming Greenwich Street, her neighboring Urban Zen boutique is the retail concept in front of the Foundation Ms. Karan co-launched in 2006. The mission of the Urban Zen Foundation is to raise awareness and inspire change in the areas of well-being, preserving cultures, and empowering children.

Built on the basic premise of black turtleneck meets tights, the direction for DKNY’s Fall 2009 Collection was modern, polished, and pulled together. A more structured silhouette took form with jackets that were either newly rounded or sharply-shouldered. The waist was graphically belted, a clever design trick which draws the eye towards and emphasizes the most narrow part of the body. Fresh proportions included shorter sleeve jackets, which were not only uncomplicated, but perfect for layering as well and what is sure to be one of fall’s most coveted items—the essentially dramatic cape, which was updated to be either flirty and sporty in shorter proportions, or long, romantic, and flowing.


Prominent silhouettes and proportions on the DKNY runway varied from modern suits and wrap dresses, to double-breasted coats and bomber jackets. My favorite looks from the collection included: the flame luxe ponte short sleeve dress with a black jersey turtleneck; a rhubarb stretch wool short sleeve jacket with a black and rhubarb silk rosebud blouse, black wool jersey turtleneck; atop a rhubarb stretch wool pencil skirt; the black and rhubarb silk rosebud dress layered over a black wool jersey turtleneck; a brushed mohair coat; the Kelly green silk cashmere cozy layered over a black wool jersey turtleneck; an animalia print silk ruffle dress; and a flannel grey stretch flannel draped dress.

The palette included compulsory neutrals in black, grey, and camel with romantic renderings in flame, kelly green, and rhubarb. This contemporary combination always manages to revitalize dark, serious colors (especially in dire, uncertain economic times), as softer colors project a sense of optimism (hopefully, the light at the end of this recession tunnel.) In recent seasons, designers have done a brilliant job modernizing their collections and reinvigorating the runways with their new interpretations; distinguishing yesterday’s prints with abstract or exaggerated versions; herein revisited classics included: houndstooth, striped, and animal (or animalia.) Cashmere striped sweaters atop modern pegged pants created a sleek panther-like effect—graceful, stealth, and agile! Modern and confident in all the ways that matter, the DKNY customer is a spirited woman who knows where she’s going and expresses herself in true New York Style!

Images provided courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Newsgroup.

For more information on DKNY, please visit
For more information on the Urban Zen Foundation, please visit

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