Donna Karan’s Spring ’14 Lessons in Urban Culture

The preservation of culture is a key issue for Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation. Inspired by the search for a scarf, Karan’s spring 2014 collection looks to the beauty of the East and pays homage to the craft and passion of local artisans from India to New York.

“Donna always does a beautiful collection that is very authentic to her,” says Karlie Kloss, the face of Jean Paul Gaultier’s fall ’13 ad campaign.

Backstage mayhem at the Cedar Lake Theater in Chelsea.

Joan Smalls, the #1 ranked model in the world, perfects her pout with a touch of gloss.

How versatile is a hand-blocked scarf? For Donna Karan, the possibilities are endless. “Short or long, the look is lean and leggy—or voluminous as air,” according to the show notes.

Polish model Jac Jagaciak dons a block-printed silk stretch georgette scarf dress that oozes urban chic.

Josephine Skriver shows off one of the wide-brim hats designed by Stephen Jones Millinery for the spring ’14 collection.

A man’s tunic made for a woman. Fei Fei Sun wears a silk tussah caftan shirt and silk stretch georgette wrap skirt.

Cora Emmanuel moves with ease wrapped in a poplin skirt dress.

Raw leather accents paired with a masculinely cut skirt dress gives Romanian model Andreea Diaconu a modern elegance.

Hilary Rhoda closes the show in a vegetable-dyed and sunbaked terracotta-stenciled silk chiffon dress.

“What makes Donna’s collections so special is that she works with the best designers that are the best at what they do,” says Kloss, who led the show’s finale walk. “I just loved all the silks from India and the hand beading she did for spring. Everything is so beautifully made and it is inspiring how she supports local artisans around the world.”

Fringed, handwoven suede and grommeted, handprinted python add luxe texture to the collection.

In this exotic tale, it’s the journey, not the destination, that leads to personal self discovery.

After the show, The Thread congratulated the designer and learned a little bit more about her “urban culture” titled collection.

“If you remember, I did a Haitian-inspired collection for spring 2012. For me, culture has just an inspirational aspect and it can play so many different roles,” says Donna, whose DKNY line turned 25 during Fashion Week.

“This entire summer, at the Urban Zen store I had only scarves—I didn’t make clothes. I just wrapped and tied scarves for customers. Particularly at my age, I’m so terrified that we are losing our cultures. Having practiced yoga, I’ve always considered myself one that puts the East and the West together. My travels, especially to Bali, India, Africa and Haiti, have greatly influenced my designs and initiatives for the Urban Zen Foundation.”

Qianna Smith
Photos by Fernando Colon

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Charles Blue July 12, 2014, 3:51 pm

    Ms.Karan I still love your woman’s wear but I’m a well dress man, who loved the comfort of your crepe suits and pants. The fabrics were so rich and luxurious ,the comfort was outstanding . Now the pants too skinny the crotch is short,just uncomfortable.! I’m now wearing designers I’d never wear ugh!! It would be nice if you’d design that line when you and your mentor Armani were all the rage . I have clothing of your couture line that can never be duplicated. Crepe looks great in men’s suits. I’m 67yrs old,a gourmet chef and a affectionato of fine men’s haberdashery . There’s a lot of us men who miss your subtle slickness that you use to put into men’s wear. I’m sure I’ll never hear back from you. But I had to let you know how I felt.
    Wish you the best.
    Sincerely,Chef Charles

  • Jeff Powell, Blogs Editor September 15, 2013, 1:40 am

    Thank you, Rose!

  • Rose September 14, 2013, 8:42 am

    Love the collection and coverage. Great photos & commentary.

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