I have written two posts so far that have praised the aesthetic of design maestro Donna Karan and today I bring you a piece from her Urban Zen collection. Urban Zen is a diffusion line, but unlike the younger DKNY or basics-driven Signature labels, Urban Zen complements Donna’s philosophy about “concious consumerism, social responsibility and giving back”. Urban Zen is a store located in the USA and is conceived as a “destination and sanctuary for globally inspired clothes and objects of desire that seduce the senses and speak to your emotions”. All of the products sold in store are sourced responsibly from around the world (Bali, Vietnam, Italy, Haiti) and proceeds go to Donna’s Urban Zen Foundation, which aims to “create, connect and collaborate to raise awareness and inspire change in the areas of well-being, preserving cultures and empowering children”.
The stores look amazing and I wish I had visited one when I was in the US last. Whilst the New York City and Sag Harbour stores are different in their layout, both essentially look like you have wandered into the home of a middle-aged, well-travelled woman, with an artistic flair and an appreciation of colour, texture and craftsmanship, who has lived seven lives in one. You can see the influences of her younger African lover, her Japanese sensei, her Indian guru. Every piece within her home has a story and begs to be held, admired, loved. She wears layers in muted, earthy tones that are at once soft and architectural. She smells of foreign lands.
I am afraid that my interpretation of her Italian mercerised cotton top from the Spring 2009 collection does not evoke much of the above (but then, I am not middle-aged with multiple virile lovers and artistic leanings). What I do hope to convey is a sense of ease, an appreciation for beautiful fabrics in a timeless and effortless style and that two opposing textures can actually marry beautifully.
I think it’s important to work different fabrics in an outfit because, well, to sound incredibly clichéd, the reason why opposites attract is because they play off one another and showcase the other’s best features (or conversely, downplay the not-so-great features). The silkiness of the satin skirt is offset in its lingerie-adjacent look by the humble cotton of the top. The white cotton is elevated by the evening feel of the skirt. There is a reason as to why your favourite fashion magazines encourage you to explore working silk and denim, leather and lace, chiffon and cashmere. Not only do the opposing fabrics give an outfit texture and depth, but they add interest and tactility!!
I purchased the top from eBay, from one of my favourite US sellers, for about $45 (it retails for $695). I picked up the skirt from the Veronika Maine store in my local Harbour Town for $25 reduced from $189. The only colour in my otherwise monochrome look is the garnet on my eyes, Sophie Kyron earrings and ring.
I would love to know what you think of the top, of the Urban Zen website and the opposing fabrics…