A Little Bit Of Leg

7th January, 2015

I have been proud to work as an ambassador for Donna Karan New York for a couple years now, proud because I can never go wrong with the clothes, and because the designer herself is such a strong female leader, a role model, a philanthropist first and a fashionista second. She’s a whole person, a woman who designs for real women, who gives them usable solutions that happily happen to also be quite chic.

Besides New York, Donna Karan is synonymous with two things: jersey and black tights. Jersey leggings, dresses, bodysuits… and black tights under everything. It’s a system of dressing tailor-made for modern women, one of those classics that never risk falling out of vogue. Donna Karan has made the idea of a long black line so much her signature that in 1997 she penned the forward to a book called LEG. It was a visual ode to her favorite focal point.
A coffee table classic, we rediscovered LEG recently, and by its sculptural, velvety images were inspired to stage this visual tribute. We shot it late one night in the studio, after the day’s model had left and the crew was packing up ~ finishing long after they’d gone. Consider it a sonnet; it’s our ode to Donna Karan’s iconic hosiery, to the power of femininity, and to the endless allure of the leg.

  • DONNA KARAN (writing in LEG, 1997): For me, it begins with the leg, creatively, personally, professionally. I am absolutely consumed with it. How to dress the leg, how to elongate it, how to shape it, how to minimize it, how to create a leg that goes on forever. As a designer, the leg is my challenge, the starting point for every collection I design. Once I resolve what I’m going to do with it, I know where I’m going with the rest.


    Fashion has always been obsessed with the leg. Think of the endless rise and fall of hemlines, the fastest way to change proportion and attitude.


    However, legs to me are more than a skirt length. A woman’s legs are her foundation. They ground her soul. Her legs determine how she stands, how she carries herself ~ and by association, how the clothes look.

  • The first thing I did when I opened my company was to put black hosiery in dressing rooms wherever my clothes were sold. Once she had her black tights on, she could try on anything; she felt good about her legs.


    The power of hosiery can’t be underestimated. From the day we opened Donna Karan New York, my hosiery has been about solving problems, be they of the fashion or the body kind. Women ~ myself included ~ are vulnerable when it comes to their legs. We feel they’re never long enough, never thin enough, never toned enough. Give a woman the illusion of perfection and you’ve given her confidence in her sensuality. You’ve freed her to wear modern clothes and, in the process, to be more in touch with her body.


    And what is fashion if not the exploration of our relationship with our bodies? What we reveal and what we conceal says so much about us, especially for women, who have endless options to choose from: the raciness of a short skirt, the fluidity of a long one, the modernity of knee-length. To slit or not to slit, the mystery of the sheer slip. Each makes a statement that begins and ends with the legs.


    Great legs are not a question of beauty. They’re a matter of expression, sensual expression. The way a woman crosses her legs, how she gets in and out of a car. I challenge you to find anything more alluring, more provocative, than a woman in sheer black stockings.


    What I love most about legs is their movement. As fas back as I remember, I’ve always wanted to be a dancer. Not just any dancer, mind you, but Martha Graham. Masculine and feminine, graceful and strong, she captured the art of body language, communicating through dance what words could not ~ with the legs in a starring role.


    Today, yoga has become my dance. I love how the leg changes character with every stretch and curl. Like dance, each position connects the body and soul, while the leg grounds us to the earth. On every level, legs are a living work of art.

  • HOLES IN THE SOUL: In the fifth issue of CR Fashion Book, fashion historian Valerie Steele wrote of the fishnet stocking: “Fishnets remain in fashion, even as trends come and go, thanks perhaps to their ability to tease, to suggest, to eroticize, to perversely (and paradoxically) make the flesh they cover seem even more exposed.”


    LOOK 1| Donna Karan turtleneck and thigh highs


    LOOK 2| Donna Karan draped sweater, bodysuit and fishnets


    LOOK 3| Donna Karan v-neck sweater and black opaque black tights

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TheGlamourai is a webzine produced by Kelly Framel, a multi-media creative director based in downtown New York (but constantly bouncing around the world). Part fashion blog, part glossy mag, part fantasy travel portal, it's your ultimate online destination for stylish daydreams. Tune in for inspirational editorials, beauty tutorials, outfit ideas, DIYs, jet-set travel tips and more!
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