Donna Karan Resort 2016.
In what can only be considered a Bittersweet conclusion to a long and storied career, Donna Karan's Final collection for her Eponymous label, was openly, one of her best collections to date. As of the writing of this, Karan has moved on and concentrated her skills and self on her "Urban Zen" Lifestyle label, after being deposed from her house (some say she stepped down... more truthfully, she was let go!) by the controlling investors. No one, truly knew this was the last we'd see of this label, which for now has been shuttered and the focus put firmly on Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow's shoulders at DKNY where they have been ensconced. As Swan Songs go, Gold Star, Donna!
Calling the collection "East Meets West" (Original... not really, but what the Fuck! It was her last collection she can call it whatever the Devil she likes!) and inspired by the 2015 Met Exhibition "China: Through The Looking Glass" Karan took a definite Eastern approach to more Western ideas. Usually, in Karan's hands, this would have devolved into a mess of Esoteria and Shamanistic Emo-Babble that would have unnecessarily weighed the collection down with Superfluous gravitas. Here, there was Lightness and Ease, Refreshing to the eye and senses. Tailoring of a Western mode was given Eastern touches. Obi-like sashes, Cheongsam-Style Frog Closures, Kimono draped sleeves, or sometimes, just the gently flared sway to the back of a severely cut short Blazer paired with shorts did the trick.
Evening was the saddest moment of the collection, because for the simple fact that it reminded us of how magically Karan can spin up a Bedeviling Fairy-Tale of an Evening Gown! Some of the best gowns to grace a Red Carpet or Gala in the last 20-odd years have come from these gifted hands and imagination (Remember when Karan, SINGLE-HANDED, made Devore Velvet a "THING" Again back in the Mid-90's???) She shone here once again, A Black gown in Shimmering Paillettes and Fringe and most Gasp-Inducing, A gown of Cyclamen Molten Silk that will forever live in my mind as one of the most Stunning gowns I have ever laid eyes upon!
Karan, in recent years, had OBVIOUSLY lost her way. It's not a point that can even be rationally argued. The essential building blocks and DNA of her brand had become relics, those of us missing them, seeking them out like Archaeologists in the hinterlands. This collection showed a Dynamic fusing of Old and New, somewhat in parallel to East and West, and was a Sterling success! The depressing aspect is that, with this promise of a label back on it's tracks, we will never get to see where those tracks led and where Donna was headed too... Although, if what we have is that Vivid Pink gown as the last impression of her years of design... Then, We need to count ourselves as Indescribably Lucky!