NYFW: DKNY S/S 2014

DKNY has become a staple in the closets of many women across the United States, and especially in the Midwest. The clothes are wearable, comfortable, and stylish without being ostentatious or excessive. With stores in practically every Simon mall and prices that are not unreasonable, the brand is readily accessible and popular. Now, as DKNY celebrates its 25th anniversary, there is a lot in their Spring/Summer 2014 collection that is bound to send women running back to those stores and re-stocking their closets.

One of the first things one notices about this season’s line is the color. DKNY grew strong 25 years ago with its use of khaki, but this season we’re looking at neon-bright pastels in various shades of pink, green, blue, orange, and yellow. The amount of color blocking was severely reduced, though not totally gone, and replaced with bright, vibrant solids and creative uses of layering.

As usual, this very large collection covers everything from casual, to sportswear, to swimwear, to formal and outerwear. One-stop shopping? DKNY strives to make that possible. An incredibly colorful pair of patch work denim jeans is simultaneously dressed down and impeccably stylish. Cute dresses in blue and orange can work either in the office or out for dinner with friends. Racer back styling works just as well on sporty dresses as it does on one-piece swimsuits. Maxi dresses in bold colors with deep plunging backs lean toward being more formal, but avoid being so outlandish as to draw unwanted attention.

Not quite everything works, but that is to be expected in a line this large. The show started with a pair of blue denim overalls over which was a blue blazer and bone colored trench coat. I’m sorry, Ms. Karan, but my grandfathers were doing that look before I was born. It didn’t work then, it doesn’t work now. The branded clothes with head-to-toe DKNY were a flop as well. The effect was what one might expect with any pattern: just too much.

I’m also still waiting for someone in New York to treat menswear as something adults wear. DKNY suits had way too much of a prep school look for them to be taken seriously by anyone over the age of six.

This misses were few, though, for a collection that covers as much ground as this one. The show closed with Karlie Kloss in a stunning red-orange maxi dress and sneakers, followed by Rita Ora in a cropped DKNY top and layered blue and sheer black skirts. Ms. Karan steeped onto the runway looking justifiably happy and ready for another 25 years.

And the world is ready for another 25 years of read-to-wear awesomeness.

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