NEW YORK (AP) -- Donna Karan turned out Wednesday to support Public School's Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, the new creative directors of her namesake DKNY, as they debuted their first collection for the brand since her departure from the company she founded 31 years ago.
There were no radical leaps in style as models made their way down a long, 250-foot runway set up under a ceiling of exposed industrial pipes in a gleaming white underpass at the PATH train station at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
The designers, with New York roots as strong as Karan's, honored the hallowed location in deconstructed cityscapes on some outfits, and they held tight to the DKNY look in playful pinstripes in asymmetrical wool wrap dresses, jackets and coats, a familiar play on classic tailored suiting.
So what did Karan think of the collection done in gray, white and black, with a touch of blue?
"She liked it. She was happy," Chow said backstage after the show.
Osborne added: "She's been so supportive, you know, throughout the process. It means a lot to us for her to be present and supportive like that. It's been amazing. ... Hopefully it's in good hands and we'll take care of it."
This is a big moment for Osborne and Chow. They've always had Karan's blessing, but where do their voices join with the brand's creative foundation? Karan stepped down in June.
"Funny enough, we titled this season Missing Pieces, knowing that it's a journey. ... We still don't really know this girl altogether. We're still putting the pieces together," Chow said. "We're still trying to find ourselves, but we know that it's a long journey and we left ourselves enough leverage to have some fun in the future."
The two chose the location to honor the city where they grew up and where Karan made her name. And they chose to tinker with tailoring as a nod to DKNY's DNA, using pieces of photos taken by Peter Lindbergh in a 1990s ad campaign for the brand.
One black-and-white coat included part of the face of Rosemary McGrotha in sunglasses from an old DKNY video.
The designers said their DKNY girl will remain a New Yorker. She'll be determined and focused and comfortable in the rest of the world as well as the two hope to foster a younger customer base.
"She wants to be taken seriously," Osborne said, "and she wants her clothes to reflect that without taking herself too seriously."
Count actress Kate Mara, who sat on the front row, among DKNY fans excited to see how the Public School guys do.
"I wear a lot of their stuff just in my regular day life when I'm not working," she said. "I'm also a huge fan of the black and white. Those are my favorite colors to wear and I feel like you can always rely on them to find those colors in their collections."
Associated Press Writer Nicole Evatt contributed to this report.
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