A model walks the runway at the Donna Karan New...

A model walks the runway at the Donna Karan New York 30th anniversary fashion show in Manhattan on Sept. 8, 2014, during New York Fashion Week. Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews

Inspiration: True that New York is always at the core of every collection Donna Karan designs, but for her Spring 2015 lineup, which was dubbed “The Art of the Street,” she traveled afar for inspiration — India, Bali, Africa and Haiti — and then returned home.

The vibe: Sexy and cool with just a dab of ’50s sweet, Karan mixed up a provocative cocktail of looks that had equally strong shots of the exotic and the urban. It’s tough balancing act — primitive and sophisticated — but Karan pulled it off in spades. To ground the collection, tactile fabrics such as hand-woven tweeds, stiff-looking canvas and papery cotton were turned out in strong silos — high-waisted crop pants, waist-nipping dresses and full skirts that went below the knee, some paired with bra tops.

The graphics included scribbles, brush strokes, graffiti and in at least one case, a large bar code(!). It was not the only wink the designer gave — crazy, gigantic straw hats (think Pharrell William’s Mounty job on steroids) — by milliner Stephen Jones were so exaggerated that they were humorous, yet added to that street safari mood, along with the models’ elaborate braids that conjured paintbrushes.

Prints were collage-like and included fringe, lace and sparkle — a few of the dresses looked like they were made of patchwork postcards (they weren’t) and to punctuate the mix — a couple of sultry numbers in solid red.

Lust-o-meter: Hidden within the printed matter perhaps the best black gown ever — a stunner in stretch canvas and organza, a hand-embroidered bra and skirt ensemble, anything brush stroked in black and white and a black and indigo street art hand embroidered one shoulder silk organza evening gown ... a dream.

What the ...? In some cases, the graphics and embellishment seemed heavy handed a la Coco Chanel’s old adage ... “take one thing off ...”

Our take: Interesting, creative, a marvel of sorts and covetable.


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