Designer Donna Karan, well-known for her Essentials Line, totally made the big time since going solo in 1985, when she left Anne Klein and built her own company. Now that her Essentials’ line has grown from 7 unique pieces to over 200, each new DKNY collection is a great success and an inspiration for thousands of new designers (fashion fun fact: the original Essentials line included a bodysuit, leggings, a blazer, a dress, a wrap skirt, a chiffon blouse and longer jacket; all clothes she claimed she would wear herself). Many of you were probably impatiently waiting for the DKNY spring/summer 2016 collection, and now that we finally got to see it at New York Fashion Week, we could say many expectations are surely going to be met while many others not.
This is in fact a turning point in DKNY’s history, as Donna Karan herself departed from her namesake label and new creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne (the talented pair behind the New York-based brand Public School), took its reign. The primary source of inspirations for these spring collection is the iconic DKNY pinstripe power suit (welcome back, early Nineties!), which gives a strong mannish look to nearly all the pieces.
What Chow and Osborne offered to the present day woman is, above all, a major change from the previous DKNY look; let’s take for instance the footwear collection: with its all-over white or black leather treatment, lace-up Oxfords definitely have a more modern creeper-style, borrowed from an even more boyish aesthetic. We also get to know what menswear experts they are thanks to some other interesting pieces, like for example the impressive variety of deconstructed power suit looks, the layered tank dresses with shirttail hems and the long T-shirt dresses with knit underpinnings. This mannish look continues with many broad-shouldered wide-lapel blazers, original pinstripe skirts and pinstripe tunic dresses. Another great protagonist is the great amount of see-through fabrics Chow and Osborne used for their oversized t-shirts and dresses, which give a hint of a more conventional feminine look to the entire DKNY spring 2016 collection.
Since Donna Karan debuted DKNY in 1989, times have changed both for society and the brand itself, which is surely going to make even bigger changes now that Chow and Osborne have made their big debut. Even if some of you may be skeptical about these changes, these two designers seem to know and respect the heritage of the brand, as demonstrated by their choice to homage the label’s founder by using images of a DKNY campaign from the 1990s during the show.
And in the end, with its color palette of black, white and grey (and just a little bit of blue), the DKNY spring 2016 collection seems to be made for strong, independent and self-confident women, and is absolutely going to make history.
Photos courtesy of Vogue