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Her latest collection of handbags loosely takes its cues from the Zodiac system, and in the first pre-fall season, the groups are named Leo, Virgo, Pisces, Scorpio, Aries and Libra. Each embodies qualities associated with the sign: Virgo's bags are solid and grounded, Leo's are full of confidence and extravagance and Scorpio's have a sense of self and fearlessness.
Click here to see Donna Karan's Pre-Fall Collection
"It makes sense — I live by astrology," she said in an exclusive preview of the collection on Wednesday. "I am a Libra. I can't make up my mind. We never find a balance. We like it all."
In typical Karan style, the handbags are all about the touch, from supple leathers and exotic skins such as French bull, ostrich and glazed goat to sculptural gold meditation rocks dangling from each style — "you could sit there and hold it," Karan joked — and other hardware such as sculptural intertwined zipper pulls company executives refer to as "The Kiss." Other details include asymmetrical seams, tucks, pleats and contrast hand-stitches on shapes such as functional totes, satchels, saddle bags and casual hobos. "I love the solidness of the zippers, the hardware, the sensuality of it all," she said. "All the skins make me feel like I am in the leather tanneries myself."
Picking up a Virgo handbag, she said, "I need a Virgo around me. Libras always need Virgos. My husband [the late Stephan Weiss] was a Virgo."
Karan herself admits she has been sporting the same bag for many years.
"The challenge was, would I wear this bag? These I would," she said and, pointing to a large shopper, added, "You know I will be carrying this for the rest of my life."
This time around, Karan is braced for the fact that her extensive handbag collection is totally separate from ready-to-wear. "Hemlines go up and down faster, silhouettes go in and out," the designer said. "And the success of bags is that women don't have to go into a dressing room to try them on. You can try on a pair of shoes and not get undressed."