I completely love the latest campaign for Donna Karan’s signature label shot by the legendary photographer, Peter Lindbergh.
Fashion veterans Donna Karan and Peter Lindbergh are a match made in heaven, having collaborated extensively on campaigns for the signature label for decades. Known individually for their devotion to the earthy/powerful/sophisticated woman ideal, when the two come together only good things happen.
Spring/Summer 2015 features model/muse Andreea Diaconu “the gallerina” in the artist’s studio. Great swathes of Franz Kline-inspired works crumble behind her. Swooshes of abstract colour form a dramatic backdrop. The painterly theme continues to the garments, with feminine shapes (fitted gowns, full and pencil skirts, and matter-of-fact shirt-waists) offset against splatters and brushstrokes.
Despite the thoroughly creative theme, as always the campaign means business, with the model’s makeup confident and strong. A bold brow, earthy tonal makeup, lack of adornment and fuss-free hair complete the vision. Her captivating direct-to-camera gaze give the feel of cool confidence – she’s either going to attend a society gala or sell you a million-dollar artwork (though likely both.)
The Painterly Trend: A full gamut of designers from Donna Karan and Chanel, through to J-Crew and Gorman bounced painterly looks back into fashion in mid 2014. A call to originality, creativity and authenticity, this painterly theme is seen as way to help houses protect themselves from the ultra-fast, mass-market fashion producers who were previously able to manufacture runway looks for retail consumption faster than the designers themselves could do it.
Whether collaborating with an artist for an exclusive design or licensing one of the masters, this tactic squashes instant replication and thoughtfully sets a label apart from the masses.
The Designer: Whilst remaining pre-eminent, the undisputed queen of zen has stepped off the fashion merry-go-round in favour of maintaining a much quieter label that appeals to it’s devoted, ageless, inner-city clientele. Karan revolutionised women’s wardrobes in 1985 via her “7 easy pieces” philosophy where “a handful of interchangeable items work together to create an entire wardrobe that goes from day to evening, week day to weekend, season to season.”
A champion of #girlboss decades before the term became synonymous with ambitious women-go-getters, Karan has always designed for the international woman with everything on the go. “A creative person who never knows where a day is going to take them,” and a heavy New York vibe (“New York” is part of the label’s full name) sets the pace and the attitude.
According to her website, today Karan is “inspired by the life and innate style of the artist. Quintessential hallmarks include black cashmere, leather, stretch and molded fabrics, often exclusively developed by Karan, as well as silhouettes that wrap and sculpt the body.”
Honourable mention: Donna Karan’s 1992 campaign, “In Women We Trust” (also photographed by Peter Lindbergh) features an imaginary depiction of America’s first female president. Working the phones, enjoying a ticker-tape parade, being sworn into the presidency, and alighting from Airforce One (whilst the males carry the bags) – is all achieved whilst retaining an indisputable femininity.
I loved this campaign when I was 12, and I still love it now. Is anyone else here old enough to remember it? (eek!) G-O-L-D.