New York Fashion Week spring 2014: DKNY review

Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

NEW YORK -- This season marks the 25th anniversary of Donna Karan’s DKNY brand, which launched back in 1989 and has had as much if not more of an effect on fashion than Karan’s high-end collection.

The DKNY “diffusion,” or lower-priced line, became a go-to for teens and young career women in the 1990s. Thanks to the marketing genius of Donna Karan’s executive vice president in those days, ad man Trey Laird, the advertising campaigns, set against the hustle and bustle of the New York streets, taxicabs, towering skyscrapers and all, DKNY became synonymous with the city itself. (It didn’t hurt that for a while, the ads seemed to run on every billboard, bus shelter and taxicab in Manhattan too.)

To celebrate, Karan staged a show Sunday afternoon with two collections -- one new, and one a kind of greatest hits -- set against the backdrop of a graffitied “DKNY” set piece, with a genuine yellow cab parked on the street behind it.

The models entered, appropriately enough, from the street. Celebs Bella Thorne, Kelly Osbourne and Anthony Kiedis watched from the front row.


On the runway? The finale walk was led by pop songstress Rita Ora, who danced her way down the catwalk to 1990s era tunes by Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and more.

The look: 1990s redux, urban athletic and in-your-face logos.

Key pieces: Denim overalls, scuba skirt, sporty nylon anorak, bandanna-print parka, bodysuit, platform high-top sneakers, sun visor with “DKNY” spelled out in plastic letters on top.

The verdict: It was hard to figure out where the greatest hits collection ended and the spring 2014 collection began, which speaks to how strong nostalgia for 1990s streetwear is coming on this week. Still, this was a high-energy celebration that proved the brand still has youth appeal. With the popularity of DKNY on digital platforms (@dkny, the Twitter account run by the brand’s publicist Aliza Licht, has nearly a half million followers), the DKNY Opening Ceremony collaboration released this year, and the fashion fanboys seated in the third row at the show wearing what looked to be vintage sweatshirts with “DKNY” spelled across the front (logos are hot again, in an ironic way), it’s pretty clear that Karan has plenty of gas in her tank for another 25 years.


New York Fashion Week coverage

NYFW spring 2014: Michael Bastian review

NYFW spring 2014: Alexander Wang review