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NYFW: DKNY – New owners, new energy

Sandra Halliday
14 September 2016

Are Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow feeling the heat? After LVMH finally caved in and sold DKNY when G-III Apparel came up with an offer they couldn’t refuse, there are new owners in place at the label. And when that happens, designers know they have to up their game. They seem to have done so for SS17.

The slightly-too-street experiment of AW16 that took hard-to-wear to an extreme has been replaced by a collection that feels young and urban, obviously drawing on the current athleisure influence, but also linking with the heritage of the DKNY brand.

It will be interesting to see how it sells and, indeed, how it’s sold. The marketing approach at giant US-based G-III is likely to be very different from that of French luxury group LVMH.

But for now, it’s all about the collection. Donna Karan’s original idea for DKNY was clothes for busy working women and it certainly offers that, but with an edge. The tailored jacket (seen here in extreme proportions that felt quite 80s), the sweater and skirt combo with slash detail, the shirt-as-dress (as opposed to shirtdress), the shapeless tunic with frayed hems, the reconstructed hoodie, and the city ‘tracksuit’ all work as simple pieces to throw on and forget about. In shades of blue, white and taupe they feel easy and wearable.

And talking of colour, looking particularly strong is a series of sheer pieces that uses colour to good effect. A sheer ‘dress’ layers pale blue over darker blue, or taupe over peach and orange, while a jumpsuit comes in sheer shades of khaki, white and blue.

In fact jumpsuits/boilersuits there are aplenty as the finale gave us around 40 models clad in loose, unbelted jumpsuits, the hoods moving seamlessly into a deep cut neckline that end somewhere around the navel.

And let’s not forget the all-important accessories, after all, G-III now has to rebuild an accessories business as well as a clothing one. There are two key statements here, one is all about sock boots of varying lengths with chunky sports soles. Another is about oversized belt bags that look good but could be a little impractical if you fill them to their limit.

So, good-but-not-perfect, which is what you could say about the entire collection. It’s clear DKNY has a long journey ahead of it to reach the level of its glory era. But on this outing, I hope that Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow are there to see it through.

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