Fall Ready-to-Wear 2014

Donna Karan

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Donna Karan Celebrates 30 Years in the Business

EYE Donna Karan Rita Ora Donna Karan

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  • EYE Donna Karan Rita Ora Donna Karan
  • EYE Donna Karan Bernadette Peters
  • EYE Donna Karan Trudie Styler Lisa Fox Deborah-Lee Furness

Donna Karan Celebrates 30 Years in the Business

For her anniversary show Monday evening, the designer chose a construction site in the heart of Wall Street.

“I should take my coat off, shouldn’t I?” Trudie Styler asked. She then reconsidered. For her 30th-anniversary show Monday evening, Donna Karan chose a construction site in the heart of Wall Street — really, the former home of J.P. Morgan and once a stand-in for the New York Stock Exchange in a Batman movie — that was so bone-chillingly cold everyone stayed bundled up throughout.


Styler was posing for a mob of photographers when Hugh Jackman and wife Deborra-Lee Furness spotted her beside them. “Trudie!” Furness yelped before realizing she was mid-step-and-repeat. “Go, go, do your thing.”


This is what 30 years in the business gets you: a crush of celebrities in your front row, the most star power so far this fashion week, and the most frenzied mob scenes courtesy of front-row photographers. Styler, who is also an accomplished producer, was shooting a film — “Ten Thousand Saints” — in New York, but set time aside to watch the show.


“Donna’s been in my life for 30 years. We met in the Eighties,” she said.


Again and again, long-standing friendships with the designer were remarked upon. “Thirty years. And I was there for 29 of them,” said Bernadette Peters. Character actor Scott Glenn met Karan 20 years ago skiing in Sun Valley.


“I did some pictures for her, some modeling,” he said. Newer to the Donna fan club were relative youngsters Katie Holmes and Rita Ora.


Holmes, who was trailed by her own detail of paparazzi, hadn’t spent much one-on-one time with the designer but was a fan of her trademark seven easy pieces. Incredibly, the actress was baring her shoulders despite the room’s temperature.


“I’m not so bad anymore because of all the people,” she said. Ora was in the middle of recording her new album, which is out imminently, but after becoming the new face of DKNY, she was excited to be cheering on Karan.


“This is my first proper fashion campaign,” she said.


Except for Jackman and Holmes, Karan’s front row followed the designer to the after party at her Stephan Weiss Studio in the West Village. “He’s got an early start. The fashion world’s all a bit too much for him,” Furness said of her husband’s absence. She had enjoyed the show. “Lots of see-through bits and I thought, ‘I can’t eat for a year and a half to get into one of those,’ ” she said.


The designer was mesmerized by the video of the show and the Steven Sebring short film she had commissioned to open it, which was being projected on a wall.


“I’m trying to watch the show because you know I don’t get to see it,” she said, this time holding back the tears that she couldn’t during her runway bow.


She was pleased the collection was perceived to be the full expression of her creative vision.


“It stood for everything that I stand for — the body, movement, sensuality, the city and the city life,” she said. “I don’t think it looked like anybody. I don’t know that that’s good or bad.” Karan was still caught up with Sebring’s film, which was playing on a loop.


“I look at that picture and I go, ‘Oh, my God, that’s the next dimension,’ ” she said, her attention still fixed on the film.

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