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FabSugar Interview With Designer Donna Karan at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco 2009-06-15 15:00:22

The Donna Dish: "We've Got a Lot on Our Shoulders Right Now"

Stella McCartney and now Donna Karan — looks like San Francisco is emerging as a fashion center.

When I think of Donna Karan, here's what comes to mind: draping, bodysuits, DKNY, womanly, classic, zen. When I met Donna Karan at a recent event at Neiman Marcus in SF, all those thoughts flooded me. But it wasn't overwhelming because Donna calmed me down with a (zen) fashion mantra: "Fashion is not all about what's on the outside. It's what you wear on the inside that also counts." I pondered that all day . . .

Prepondering, I witnessed an intimate runway show of her Fall collection. The charming senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman's, Ken Downing, served as co-maestro. Donna disclosed that she finds microphones "annoying. They're not genuine." And according to Downing, DK's collection was his high point at Fashion Week. "I love this collection," he said. On with the Donna!

  • Donna on her Fall collection: Her collection was a reflection of the past, present, and future. It's also empowerment for women. It's not just about designing. It's necessary to be intentionally thoughtful.
  • Donna on the resurgence of shoulder pads: "We've got a lot on our shoulders right now," DK said, referring to the economy. Ken said, "You can carry a lot more with those shoulder pads." Shoulder pads make hips appear narrower. Nobody gains weight on the shoulders, she said, referencing the cold shoulder dress.

To hear more Donna dish and to see more runway photos,

  • Donna on color: She favors a color palette that's effortless. Grays, black, navy are endless palettes of classicism. It's an inner feeling she can't explain. She is affected by color and light. It's an artistic expression. "Red is like lipstick. An accent that always works." She's also inspired by her trips to Africa, the wilderness, nature, pavements in the city.

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Photos courtesy of Drew Altizer

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