Over the past week we’ve taken several trips along fashion’s memory lane; from Salt-n-Pepa in gold chains and JLo in velour to London’s punks in trash bag couture, fashion has consistently shaped the framework of our lives and times. Many trends come and go with the ever-changing zeitgeist, and few are the movements that have had as lasting an impact on the way women dress as Donna Karan’s 7 Easy Pieces, a concept first debuted in 1985 that continues to shape the sartorial landscape of today.
In its first incarnation, the idea centered around the bodysuit ~ a garment whose cultural relevance is quickly trickling back to fashion’s forefront. That seminal show opened with eight models dressed only in black bodysuits and tights; they next began slowly adding wrap skirts, pull-on knit pants, tailored jackets and all sorts of cashmere layers. A revolution had begun.
Like I mentioned HERE, I’ve been avoiding the city this summer, having escaped to Montauk for some breathing room and creative rejuvination. I’ve been needing a break, and it’s given me a fresh space to play in my working life. I’ve been so inspired by the scenery, the pace of life, and the aloha atmosphere of this place. The eye has to travel! Donna Karan’s own journey has taken her from quintessential city gal to globally-aware, zen-centric philanthropist ~ an evolution that has only served to prove the extreme versatility of this system of dress. 7 Easy Pieces is about finding freedom in simplification. The bodysuit, for starters, works as well in the urban office as it does with a Balinese sarong in a sleepy seaside town.Women’s lives and the opportunities available to us have come a long way since 1985, and the ways in which we outfit ourselves have evolved accordingly. Even this concept is more flexible than ever: which 7 pieces make your life easier? In Donna Karan’s world, knitwear (and especially cashmere!) has always featured heavily in answering this question, in crafting wash-and-go clothes that travel as well as they wear.
My own interpretation of the concept requires pieces that are inherently transformable: I will always, always buy an item that can truly be worn in multiple ways. This knitted sliver of sequins is the perfect example. Shimmy it over your hips, and you’ve got yourself a savagely sexy little pencil skirt…
…or unfurl that waistband, hoist the whole thing up, and now you have a completely classic cocktail frock:
Great black jackets have always been wardrobe cornerstones in Karan’s system, and crucial in my own life as well. Lately, the versions she’s doing in leather simply slay me. The arms are cut extra long and lean, with hidden knit panels that make them comfier than any sweatshirt.
Paired with pull-on black pants, you’ll feel like you’re in yoga clothes all day, but no one else will know it. That, to me, is Donna’s genius: as a woman, designing for women, she’s changing the system from within. What used to be about helping us hold our own in a man’s world is now about giving us just what we want in a universe we finally co-own.There’s one thing, however, that is as true for any man as it is for me: one can never have too many classic white shirts. They comprise a major subcategory of my closet, and still it thrills me to discover a special new specimen. I especially love when they’re cut long and tunic-like, with floppy French cuffs and crisply starched finishing. But what we have that men do not is the ultimate go-to: the classic black dress. Hats off to Donna Karan for giving us new and perfect versions of this stylish stalwart, season after season, and for inspiring and empowering womankind to be both powerful and glamorous for going on 30 years!|MY 7 EASY PIECES| 1/ black bodysuit 2/ cashmere tunic 3/ versatile skirt 4/ great tailored jacket 5/ bootcut pants 6/ classic white shirt 7/ little black dress |PHOTOS| by James Katsipis |SHOT| on location in Montauk, NY |IN COLLABORATION| with the great Donna Karan New York and Nordstrom