Donna Karan and Nordstrom South Coast Plaza invited some 40 fashionistas to an early holiday luncheon in the designer salon on the second floor of the mighty retailer.
The occasion was an exclusive preview of the pre-spring 2014 Karan collection. Presented to the crowd by the designer's New York representative, Curtis Farnham, working with stylist Kelly Framel, known for her fashion blog TheGlamourai.com, the show was also labeled Karan's 2013 resort line.
In fashionable days past, the so-called "resort line" was also known as the "cruise line," presented to the public at year end essentially aimed at the luxury market when upscale consumers would purchase trend-setting fashions for holiday travel.
In recent years, cruising has become far more democratic, with mega-ships carrying 3,000-plus passengers more suitably attired in warmup suits and easy-to-pack polyester. So the pre-spring line is now known as "resort."
Karan is at the top of the A-list of American designers. Her clothing has been a staple of the well-dressed woman for more than three decades. Karan's subtle use of luxurious fabrics and painstakingly tailored garments have flattered the female figure in a manner that has continuously emphasized a sensibility of sophisticated, at-ease comfort. Never too precious or exaggerated, her fashions are always first class, somewhat timeless and extremely wearable.
Karan's pre-spring 2014 line is no exception. Her minimalist standards are once again evident in her fabric choices and solid colors, the favorites being black, ink blue, white, cream, tan and red. Again, textures are her trademark, not prints, although this line does feature some sexy snake and animal prints in tones of black, taupe and cream. Price points are substantial, with most pieces in the line selling as separates in the range nearing the $1,000 mark, with many of the dresses and specialty items priced in the multiple thousands.
Farnham, director of retail stylists for Donna Karan New York, joined Barbara Kirk, store manager for Nordstrom South Coast Plaza, and Rachel Apirian, senior manager of global marketing for Donna Karan New York, welcoming Nordstrom's invited customers for the luncheon and fashion show.
Many of the guests, mostly women, were delighted to visit with Farnham, who charmed them with his gracious manner. Among the attendees were Lynn McGavin, Shanaz Langson in an elegant black tunic accented with a spectacular pearl necklace, Elizabeth Hargreaves, Dana Agamalian and Trish Coury.
Also enjoying the insiders' peek at the Donna Karan line and a superb luncheon catered by Crème de la Crème were Kathryn Godfrey, Ariana and Shandee Lundquist, Monica McEntee, Barbara Gasparian and Debora Raike.
The Nordstrom VIPs mingled among the crowd, chatting over their grilled rosemary chicken breast served with honey cider vinaigrette and a toasted apple and pecan brioche crouton salad.
Framel added a youthful spin to the presentation, narrating the fashion presentation from a decidedly 20-something point of view. Closing the runway show, Farnham introduced a Karan model wearing a magnificent beaded couture gown in neutral flesh tones, which was a one-of-a-kind piece designed for the celebrity red carpet.
Framel styled the presentation, placing a tan-colored leather motorcycle jacket over the beaded gown. The only thing missing were army boots to replace the model's elegant evening slippers. This observer realizes that the "hip" trend is to downplay overly elegant fashion, but it is an insult to the creativity of the designer. That being said, it is the desired look of the younger buyer with means.
To view the entire Donna Karen New York pre-Spring 2014 Collection, the Nordstrom designer salon South Coast Plaza is at your service.
THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.