It has been an interesting few months at Donna Karan HQ and it has certainly been a while since the hype around a DKNY show threatened to eclipse all others. With Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne taking charge this afternoon’s show was all about new beginnings. The collection they presented under a spine-like ceiling in the basement of the World Trade Center certainly provided the clean slate for that but it may just have been a little too clean.
The opening look of a single-breasted charcoal grey pinstripe blazer set the tone and did so cleverly. That old symbol of business and Wall Street, where we were after all, was reinterpreted again and again for today’s working girl who, let’s face it, will most likely not wear a pinstripe suit to the office. She may however wear a white tee with a pinstripe pencil skirt and bold red lips or a long pinstripe tank dress with a white poplin shirttail at the hem, sheer little socks and patent brogues. It was impressive to see these two having a ball with the challenge but it could have been more edited. A not-quite-whole pleated skirt that featured in many of these looks will be tricky for the customer walking into a DKNY store to make sense of and wear. In a signed letter accompanying their show notes, Chow and Osborne talked about growing up in New York and the indelible impression the city left on them. You could feel the love in the use of black and white city scenes printed onto long white shirtdresses. It would have been interesting to see them play with that idea a little more. And you could sense the jolt of energy injected into the show once the navy and chalk white pinstripe looks were introduced, from an origami folded dress to a play on the double-breasted jacket with a long coat/dress. Their menswear background shone through in the expert cut of a deconstructed black blazer, cropped shorter on one side - exactly the piece you'd want to find in their store and wear a million different ways.
Today they underplayed the hype but it will be interesting to see where they take the brand with a little more time and confidence. As they said in their letter, in New York the world is your backyard. More play and fun next time.