Unlike the season’s ubiquitous 1940’s and 70’s references, the Fall 2011 DKNY Ready-to-Wear Collection took a decidedly 60’s mod direction. And one would expect nothing less from Donna Karan’s younger, cooler, hipper sisterly sidekick. Much like Donna Karan’s eponymous collection and of course the brand’s namesake range, the undercurrent is always a sophisticatedly-minded New Yorker who is an individualist to her core. Not only did the influences stand apart from the pack, so did the silhouette, palette, and accessories—delivering 35 new looks that managed to modernize the “mod” elements.
According to the presentation showrun, “The collection was inspired by the modernists in New York City. Fall is a sexy study of graphic lines, colors, and textures, pulled together with a fresh ingénue spirit.”
While the silhouette remained simple with boxier, linear cuts, accentuated by peter pan collars and contrasting piping; the palette blended staid neutrals of biscuit, black, grey, and navy with cheerful hues of lipstick, raspberry, cherry, and blush. The nostalgic throwback of acid brights and geometric grids from an era dominated by Courrèges’ boxy silhouettes or YSL Mondrian shifts was replaced here with wide horizontal stripes and a bold juxtaposition of brights against plaids. These reinvigorated checks packed the same punch nonetheless—manipulating and shaping the proportion of blazers and dresses throughout the collection. Accessories extended the collection’s preppier elements of a bygone era with saddle-style spectator and cap toes shoes, structured handbags, and even porkpie hats. Donna Karan typically favors a seductive showing of shoulders, but herein, legs were the erogenous zone of choice. Nearly every look featured skinny twill pants, lean flared trousers, or mini skirt lengths. The graphic influences were not limited to a bolder color story. This element was also translated by patchwork detailing and pieced mixed media jackets.
The 60’s inspiration carried over to the beauty department with Wella Creative Director Eugene Souleman creating a softly tousled look, giving the hair just enough body for that slightly undone look. Center and side parts were offset by added volume at the crown to complete the easygoing feeling. Charlotte Willer for Maybelline New York began with a pale face before grooming a strong brow to frame this looks focus—it was all about the eyes here. Ms. Willer outlined the socket with black liner, creating an arrow at the tips for a cat eye effect. The lower rimes were lined before applying black mascara. The mouth was a pinkish nude hue.
My favorites from the Fall 2011 DKNY Ready-to-Wear Collection were the: black and biscuit tailored cape with black leather racing jacket, cream crepe de chine round collar shirt, and black stretch cotton skinny zipper pant with knee patch; the black shearling coat, black double knit biker jacket, cream crepe de chine short with black contrast piping, and black stretch cotton skinny zip pant with knee patch; the cherry mohair puffer coat, black crepe de chine collarless shirt with navy sleeves, and caramel wool twill lean flare trouser; the blush, navy, and lipstick georgette pleated colorblock mini dress and blush crepe de chine collarless shirt with black sleeves; the navy and henna twill houndstooth plaid coat with leather sleeves, navy crepe de chine collarless shirt atop navy and henna twill houndstooth plaid pieced mini skirt; the cheetah print shearling coat with navy roll-neck sweater and navy and henna twill houndstooth plaid mini skirt; and the black wool roll-neck sweater with black shredded mini skirt.
“Show me something, New York,” read the message board clipped to the liner notes and like a dare, this mantra was emblazoned in neon lights as a backdrop to the runway. “Young, carefree, and full of color, ready to hop on a scooter and take on life in the big city…”
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