Sunday, January 5, 2014

90s dkny

Opening Ceremony's capsule collection collab with DKNY focused mainly on sporty styles emblazoned with the brand's logo. And for good reason--the four letters are completely emblematic and representative of the brand, and its ultimate foray into 90s streetwear culture. OC reissued pieces from 1991-1994, with all looks featuring the oversized logo. 

In these ads you can see some of the original looks and inspiration that pretty much defined the era of activewear seeping into modern, everyday dress. 
Spring 1994 lensed by Peter Lindbergh (essentially the creator of every DKNY campaign), featuring Peter Fortier, Rosemary McGrotha and 90s superhunk Mark Vanderloo
Spring 1994 DKNY at SAKS ad

OC's take on DKNY's activewear and logomania are relevant and thematically important to its image in the 90s. Still, there is much more to the brand and its style sensibility during the decade. Several magazine ads of the era proclaimed: DKNY, "the bare facts of casual," or DKNY, "the basic components of style." Flipping through 90s lookbooks, you see just that. Many of the heavy hitters and stunners don't have a logo in sight. Instead, you see truly casual and covetable basics. These looks below, a sampling from Spring 1994, are a prime example.

Super pared down, yet kinda inspiring, amiright? Definite reference material almost 20 years later. Below are some notable ads of the decade, shot of course by Lindbergh.
 1993: Getting theatrical w/Shalom 
1994: Probably the most memorable DKNY ad of all time. Check out more from the series here. Shot in Times Square, the campaign is chock-full of classic NYC iconography: yellow cabs, traffic lights, and crowds on busy streets. If these ads were re-released today, they'd stand out from the majority of new campaigns, no contest. It's the story-telling art direction, authentic energy, and cinematic quality of the campaign that makes it so timeless. All the photographs were made into a beautifully designed catalog celebrating the city itself. It's wonderful, buy it!

From the beginning, the ultimate goal of DKNY's branding and advertising was to make consumers associate the brand with NYC, and the city with the brand. DKNY's Houston St. Soho billboard (which illustrated the statue of liberty and NYC cityscape within the letters of its logo) became a kind of landmark of the city for 16 years, and the former advertising tagline declaring DKNY as "The uniform of NYC" helped drive the association full force. 
The following year though, Donna Karan & co. launched the DKNY Hollywood campaign, diversifying the brand image beyond the confines of NYC with a more glamorous, sophisticated style. Seems like it was a big departure from the logo-heavy streetwear from earlier on and moreso, a slight nod to 30s and 40s leisurewear.
 Shalom Harlow and Mark Vanderloo getting cozy on set.
 I want to be Amber Valletta in this image. Y'know, casually hanging poolside in my palatial backyard, wearing a pristine crepe de chine jumpsuit and drinking fresh-squeezed OJ while reading the latest in Variety. Getting ready to start the day, maybe at 1PM.
Last but not least, here's Spring 1996. Lime green accents and pool slides abound.

1 comment:

hhumh said...

what an awesome post! thanks a bunch, always loved dkny aesthetics in the 90's