The mainline label of the eponymous New York designer is relaunching, and it’s got a few icons in tow to do so. Today Donna Karan New York debuted “In Women We Trust”, a campaign featuring eight supermodels from across three different generations, all captured by heavyweight Annie Leibovitz. The Spring 2024 collection released alongside the campaign will mark the first in several years for Donna Karan’s eponymous brand. Though the flagship line of the now 75-year-old designer was launched four years before DKNY was even a thing, it was shelved in 2015 when the designer stepped away from the business. Nine years on, the debut collection of the new Donna Karan New York is all about going back to the heritage brand’s roots: accessible luxury that pays homage to Karan’s famed “Seven Easy Pieces” system of dressing. Clue’s in the name for that one, but it was essentially 1985’s answer to a capsule wardrobe, and was birthed as a concept in Karan’s very first collection.
With the roster of models featured in the campaign – everyone from Karlie Kloss to Cindy Crawford and Shalom Harlow makes an appearance – it’s safe to say that Karan has brought out the big guns. While the contemporary modelling industry has become synonymous with names like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, the latter’s lacklustre catwalk skills have led to the vast majority deciding that the supermodels of the 90s just did it better. As well as the “In Women We Trust” campaign, we’ve seen a renewed interest in them and their heyday: last year saw the release of Apple TV’s The Super Models, and in September of last year a few of the greats got back together for a Vogue UK cover.
For those familiar with sartorial history, “In Women We Trust” might ring some bells. The same name was given to a 1995 Donna Karan campaign which saw model Rosemary McGrotha try out the role of US president: it was a tongue-in-cheek ode to Karan’s characteristic power dressing. Though it had the makings of a campaign that would go down in history, its legacy was squandered in 2017 when the designer defended film producer Harvey Weinstein: “How do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?” she said in an interview with the Daily Mail. Given the designer has made a career out of creating silhouettes to empower women, it’s a bit of a shame.
Hey, at least we’ve been spared another Jeurgen Teller campaign.