If Donna Karan didn’t invent uniform dressing in the eighties, she went
a very long way toward making the idea a sexy one. Now, with the economy
in a nosedive, she’s brought the clever, potentially budget-saving concept
back for Fall, and the result is one of her strongest-looking collections
in seasons. It starts with a jacket or a draped jersey top—all exaggerated,
sculpted shoulders with a wrapped or belted waist. On the bottom, it’s
either a long, lean skirt or tapered trousers. That powerful, triangular
silhouette came down the runway in all sorts of arrangements, each ready
to be pulled apart and reconfigured with any number of different pieces.
A caramel calfskin trench jacket, a white poplin button-down shirt, or
a black silk parka might be paired with a stretchy, below-the-knee jersey
skirt, while a portrait-collar alpaca jacket or turtleneck bodysuit might
top cropped pants.
But it wasn’t all about separates. Dresses, whether they came long-sleeved
or in a drapey goddess style, followed the same commanding lines. Karan
only abandoned the bold shoulder to reproduce on the runway a look that
she herself has been wearing for years. Made from satin jersey suspended
from a necklace of leather-wrapped rings, the halter-style “cold
shoulder” dress—as she calls it—has been battle-tested
not only for sex appeal, but also for ease. Who wouldn’t want to slip
into a uniform like that?