It’s amazing how chill Donna Karan manages to be even though she’s about to send a show down the runway. We would be backstage weeping into a split of Champagne — okay, a bottle; okay, four bottles. But at DKNY on Sunday, Karan hung out before the show with the rest of us, mingling cheerfully with the media before posing for an unending passel of photographs with her current campaign girl Ashley Greene. “Thank you — it’s all about the lighting, honey!” she winked at a journalist who asked her to shift her position. Then she narrowed her eyes and stared thoughtfully at another lady. “I love your hair. I might have to change all the hair tomorrow,” she said, referencing her eponymous Donna Karan show. If she’s organized enough to be that relaxed with two full fashion shows on the docket, then we probably can’t keep using our rigorous typing schedule as an excuse for not going to the gym. We may need to start following her around and taking notes.
Unsurprisingly, Nina Dobrev — who made a splash at the Emmys in a red Donna Karan gown in September — also took in the show, seated between Greene and the divine Coco Rocha, and got an introduction to the designer after it ended. “I’d been dying to meet you,” we heard Nina say as they hugged. Dobrev looked great in a black and white dress and a leather jacket — the latter of which was a smart choice, in the end, because Karan threw open the doors and had the models hit the catwalk from outside. Suddenly it made sense why 90 percent of the assembled reporters — plus several event staffers in headsets — had left on their heavy winter coats. Said Greene, who was clad only in a short-sleeved red dress, “We were like, ’Man it’s hot in here,’ but they obviously know what they’re doing because when the doors opened there was that gust of air and it all evened out, so I was okay.”
Greene, who is a month out from her next DKNY shoot, said Karan is once again custom-making her Met Ball gown for the May gala. Having a gown basically built around your body sounds like a pretty dreamy proposition to us, especially smack in the middle of Fashion Week, when everything we brought suddenly seems so boring and doesn’t fit quite right (what, blame the red-wine-and-carbs diet? Not us). “A lot of what I wear, they create for me, so, say, they’ll send over twenty sketches and say, ‘This is what we’re thinking, what do you think?’” Greene said. “They obviously totally don’t have to give me approval over that stuff but they’re incredible about it. It’s so cool. To have access to these designers … not everybody gets that. I’m really lucky, and it’s just ridiculously fun.” Since she hit it big with Twilight, Greene has been doing enough red carpet appearances (seriously, it feels like she single-handedly carries most of the overseas premieres; we hope her flyer miles buy her a spa vacation) that she said she’s noticed an evolution in her personal style. “When you’re first thrust into the fashion world, it’s overwhelming. The fashion industry has a language of its own and sometimes it’s hard to understand,” she confessed, laughing. “But I’m definitely learning what works on me or my body type. You have to learn that just because a trend is hot doesn’t mean you have to embrace it, or that it looks good on you.” Still, even with all the fancy new stuff rolling in, we wondered if Greene ever looks at her closet and realizes she has one fallback item she just keeps buying (kind of like the time we needed more than two hands to count our horizontally striped shirts). “I was always big on t-shirts and jeans, so I have a thousand t-shirts,” she said. “I’ve actually started weeding those out because let’s face it, you really only need five. And I have a lot of shoes. A lot of shoes.” Girl, we feel you. Whether it’s laundry day or Bloat Saturday, shoes always fit, and in our minds you can never have enough. “There’s never too many shoes,” she affirmed. “Although you can run out of closet space. That’s definitely happened.” She paused, then corrected herself with a sheepish grin, “That’s definitely happening.”