Donna goes over the top

Carole Sloan, October 15, 2001

AT THE NEW YORK MARKET — Topical fabric treatments and effects are the fashion story at Donna Karan New York, both in Collection and DKNY Life.

The fabrics use pleating, origami effects, stitching, ruching, shirring and drawstrings to create the topical interest. Overall, the fabrics reflect the designer's fabric approach in her ready-to-wear collection that creates the effect of movement and light.

Across both segments are core features, such as ribbon knits in a variety of constructions, quilts, and soft-washed cottons and muslins.

In the three new beds in Collection, neutrals are the color statement. Paper White showcases a washed cotton top-of-bed style that emulates origami with stitchery detail paired with a 350-count cotton sheet and accessory items such as a cotton sateen quilt with hand-stitched details and a washed muslin border, a stonewashed matelasse quilt, a chunky knit fringed throw and pillows of washed silk and linen.

In a similar vein, Woods, in warm skin tones, features a cotton batiste top-of-bed with ruching embellishment, paired with a 300-count Egyptian cotton sateen sheet with a quilted hem detailing and a 250-count printed cotton. A matelasse coverlet and Euro sham in sable is overprinted and treated with a soft finish. Platinum features a washed silk duvet and sham with an adjustable drawstring shirring. The ensemble offers both a 350-count cotton and cotton sateen sheet and a channel detailed silk quilt and decorative pillows using an overprinted matelasse and jacquards.

Both Woods and Platinum top-of-bed styles are $400 queen on sale, and Paper White is $500. The sheets are $110 queen on sale.

A new Collection towel is a jacquard twisted loop with a crinkle woven jacquard hem in two colors at $19.99. Based on early previews, Patsy Pollack, president, said the company is considering expanding the color range by six to eight.

In DKNY Life, the Pure collection builds in texture, softness, washed fabrics and stitchery. Pure Wheat offers a top-of-bed style in a duvet of soft washed silk with a new washed cotton sheet and shams using popstitched and channel quilting. A cotton throw is pleated and stitched.

A shadow engineered print is featured as a duvet and sham on White Tea, with both a washed cotton and handkerchief cotton sheet, a reversible top stitch quilt and ribbon knit accent pieces.

Pressed Leaf uses a pressed palm leaf as inspiration that creates a printed/ pleated duvet and a printed sheet with stitchery detailing. Pillows include ribbon knits as well as distressed sequins as embellishment.

Handgathered pleating details highlight the top-of-bed for City Tribe that uses parachute cloth and sheet and accessory embellishments of pleating, ribbon knits, rawedge pleating and leather trims.

Washed Floral is featured in khaki washed cotton with seaming details, sheer organza banding and overscaled flowers as a corsage at the duvet corner. The 220-count combed cotton sheet is paired with a large abstract floral sham, ribbon knit and distressed sequin trim pillows.

Bedwear is a 200-count washed cotton solid-color program using a special dyeing technique and garment washing in six dusty colors. In an unusual twist, the fitted sheet uses a drawstring rather than elastic. Shams have a hidden pocket, as do the bedskirt.

Prices for the DKNY top-of-bed are $229 queen sale and $99 twin for the top stitched reversible quilt.

New bath accessories in black and white with interchangeable elements are offered for City Tribe.

Overall, quilts have become a key element in the product mix for all beds, Pollack said. "They are incredible sellers. They're disproportionately successful for us."

The company also is showing a prototype merchandising fixture for its Pure towel and robe line.

Discussing the program, Pollack noted that there will be 150 doors offering DKNY and 45 offering Collection by yearend. Next year, she said there will be nearly 30 more doors without new accounts. "We are focusing our expansion on existing accounts."

While long-range plans call for "a fully fleshed out home line in company stores along with apparel," existing stores have throws and pillows primarily because of size limitations. The new Madison Avenue store has a decorative bed.

Looking ahead, Pollack said the company is "likely to work on furniture and tabletop next."

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