NEW YORK -- Everything about Donna Karan's 30th anniversary show was a grandiose affair, from the Wall Street venue (the building known as "The Corner" that once housed J.P. Morgan & Co.) to the trippy film that opened the event, shot by artist Steven Sebring.
Hugh Jackman, Rita Ora and Katie Holmes were front row. (In a sleeveless dress on the blustery night, Holmes was definitely earning her paycheck.)
The show wasn't overly retrospective, but it was somewhat X-rated, with lots of leg, sheer skirts a-swirling and thigh-high boots, all of which seem out of step with a brand whose DNA lies with the working woman, as in corporate, not working in the other sense.
Karan did open with the body suit, one of the seven easy pieces, or monochrome wardrobe separates, that made her famous when she burst on the scene with a modern wardrobe for the executive woman that was an antidote to '80s excess. But this body suit was black tulle and lacquered satin, more like one of Beyonce's stage costumes than a staple.
The rest of the collection continued like this, which is not to say it didn't have its New York minutes (a gray flannel and pinstripe fit 'n' flare dress that was a lovely fusion of masculine and feminine, and a black devore velvet gown with embroidery that brought to mind the skyline of the city that charges Karan).
But mostly, these were clothes for the runway (or red carpet), not for real women, and certainly not the clothes you would expect to see designed by a woman. And in a season when so many designers are taking a pragmatic approach to sportswear, it seems like a missed opportunity. I wonder what would be the new seven easy pieces? I guess Karan has moved on.