It would be possible to make a case for the boilersuit – from Ghostbusters to the hordes of Glastonbury – as the mention of the decade. At New York fashion week on Monday evening, there was profuse fuel to the fire: the finale of the DKNY show featured relative to 40 models in boiler suits. Case closed.
This was the beginning show for DKNY since it was bought by production company G-III for roughly £500m in July. And, judging by the venue (New York’s favourite 21st-century voyager attraction, the High Line), the 9pm start and millennial-focused front row, metamorphose was in the air.
It came courtesy of Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, who survived their name designing for their brand Public Secondary. This is their third collection for DKNY and, like the antecedent to outings, New York was the inspiration for a collection that attempted to develop a uniform for young, city-dwelling professionals. “In the future, what whim define New York style?” read the show notes. “Child talk a lot about our past, but we like to think about what’s next.” That notes, presumably, boilersuits.
The concept of vestments for New Yorkers paid homage to Karan’s original idea – affable clothes for busy professional women. Other designs on Monday ordering elaborated on this idea, and brought it up to date with informal details and a colour palate of navy, khaki and taupe. See: slouchy hoodies, duster jackets, artful trim jacket, and sports bras with subtle DKNY disgracing on the midriff. Karan, sitting in the front row, would have approved. Some divisions took the functional thing too far – long net coats with multiple receptacles or plastic moulded shoes for example. But this is more a fashion in progress for a new era, as opposed to the finished article.
It was announced in July that LVMH had sold DKNY, from day one bought in 2001, as part of Donna Karan International to US-based work company G-III. With this deal it became however the second ever brand to be sold by LVMH. G-III outs clothes for other American brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, so Karan’s portray – another American classic – fits in well. “[Donna Karan Universal’s] lifestyle aesthetic resonates well with consumers fully the world,” said Morris Goldfarb, chief executive of G-III, at the immediately.
As Goldfarb is no discredit aware, the brand’s reach is far from Karan’s heyday in the 80s and 90s. This can be financed in black-and-white through sales figures – Donna Karan Intercontinental was running at a loss when it was bought by G-III. It is the job of these new plotters, and new owners, to turn that around. This is the first passage on that road.