DKNY line captures locals' tough skin, soft soul

SAMANTHA CRITCHELL AP Fashion Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The DKNY brand's heart lies with New Yorkers, and for fall, Donna Karan is giving those customers the guarded exterior, sense of humor and softer soul that characterizes so many of them.

In the collection she presented Sunday afternoon, almost halfway through New York Fashion Week, she wrapped up models in high-neck aviator coats and fitted blazers but gave them flirty short skirts with bouncy hemlines. She put them in cozy collars and feminine bow-neck blouses.

Even more diversity came from the textures: embossed crocodile, shiny leather, cozy shearling, sexy sheers and slim twill. When she tired of black, which Karan really never does, she switched to navy, gray or the occasional flash of red.

"Inspired by the beat generation, these are clothes for a true New Yorker," Karan said in her notes. "Sweet and strong, pretty and tough, smart and street."

Like last season, Karan positioned a taxi just behind the open, street-side doors from which the models emerged, ensuring that each photo would have the yellow-cab backdrop.

"Twilight" actress Ashley Greene has worn several pieces by Karan for public appearances in recent months and she was there in the front row to support the designer.

"It works for me," Greene said of Karan's style. "I like the twist she puts on things."

And, added Greene, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, "I am infatuated with all things New York, and she is so New York."