SUPER FASHION DESIGNER Donna Karan says there is another way of casual dressing other than just jeans. “We have been very jean-oriented,” she says, “and it’s about blue jeans, blue jeans, blue jeans. But,” she adds, “There is another more relaxed way of dressing.”
Karan is talking about her newest pre-fall collection of casual fashion, a grouping that represents a “reformulating” of the entire Karan company, away from an almost exclusive emphasis on formal-like attire, toward clothes representing a more relaxed lifestyle for customers. “In tune,” the designer puts it, “with the way women are dressing today.”
The new clothes are at once elegant and easy to wear, relaxed and comfortable. “I think (the new clothes idea) has a more fashionable twist to it,” Karan declared. Pointing out that a T-shirt isn’t just a T-shirt any longer.
–“A T-shirt has to have so much more meaning,” she said. “It has to have the drape to it, the ease to it, the edge to it, and a pant is not just a pant, but there has to be the seaming of it, the suede detail, the distressed quality, and the washes of the fabric.
“The way I look at it,” she said, “it’s the next generation” of where jeans are going.
CASUAL COULD BE THE NEW FASHION MANTRA. WE OFFER SOME GREAT CASUAL ACCESSORIES, TOO:
EXEMPLIFYING HER NEW DIRECTION, the pre-fall collection is filled with highly creative, even remarkable looking clothes. One outfit, for example, includes a washed brown leather jacket worn over a tan and light grey jersey T-shirt dress. The outfit is seen with leather belts with metal hoop closures, a big cashmere scarf wrapped several times around the neck, and cozy gloves. The total impression sounds contradictory because it is at once directional, urban, and new, and at the same time has a certain retro feel that brings to mind Russian country peasantry.
Another outfit on the Karan runway featured a long-haired shearling hooded vest worn over a brown viscose parachute dress, also with leather belting. Again, the outfit is complex, and almost contradictory. It is rich, designer-y, very upper-crusty as the Brits might say. But it also has a definite feel of the 1970s thrift store “Second Avenoo” fashion a la Barbra Streisand. Wild!
Just how would you accessorize this new look? You might want to use a smooth leather handbag, or even a distressed leather shoulder bag in brown or natural. Silver was made for the look: silver bracelets, chain belts. And earrings, well, keep them simple, bohemian, hand-made looking.
New Dress Formula
YOU MIGHT KEEP THE FORMULA in mind because it looks like the new Karan idea might well catch on soon. This is a look that fills in where jeans won’t go, to work for instance, yet it is easy to wear, comfortable, down-played. Keep an eye on it!
Ken Dowling, senior vice president at Neiman Marcus, says, “We are seeing a dressed-up casualization in the market. This will give her (the customer) a whole new option for day-to-day. We are seeing the need and real desire to have lovely casual clothes beyond just the idea of racksuits.
Ron Frasch, president of Saks, Inc., essentially agrees,” There is this whole area of business where our lives are less formal today and more relaxed, and people are dressing in a way that their weekend clothes and their workweek clothes are starting to come together.”
Customers can wear these pieces on the weekends, Karan admits. “But for me and some people, you wear them seven days a week. It is a way of life.”