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What Donna Karan Saw in Haiti

September 14, 2011

After spending time in Haiti this past year, Donna Karan’s Spring ’12 collection took a tribal turn with rich, earthy tones and prints that resembled cave paintings (I loved when this idea dwindled to simple brush strokes) and wooden masks (if they were carved by Picasso). I am loving the artistic vibe! Even when the show changed from the graphic black and white pieces to a brown and orange palette (and I tend to hate brown clothing – I mean, even the phrase “brown clothing” sounds so awful) it still retained an alluring combination of ancient influences with distinctly urban tailoring and silhouettes. And besides, I got where the colors were coming from and it was strangely moving to see that sense of rebuilding and that tortured relationship with the Earth through something as unexpected (and first world) as high-end clothing. The whole show had the appropriate feeling of being vulnerable, yet tough. It was interesting to see the strong Haitian influence and not have this be an overall boho or similarly ’70s-inspired collection, which would have been the easy way out for such a reference. Keeping it modern made it one of the most appealing shows yet.

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