Donna Karan Fashion Show Benefits the San Francisco Ballet

Photos by Drew Altizer

Designer Donna Karan previewed her fall 2012 collection during the 31st annual San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary Fashion Show fundraiser held on Friday at the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton. More than 500 people attended the sold-out luncheon, live auction and runway show presented by Saks Fifth Avenue.

Saks Chairman and CEO Steve Sadove introduced Karan, calling her designs some of the most lasting on the market. He also announced the debut of a dedicated Donna Karan boutique within the Saks Fifth Avenue San Francisco store on Union Square.

The runway show followed, featuring 41 looks from the latest Donna Karan New York line.

“This collection is inspired by my husband… It’s about the life of woman and man,” explained Karan, who later this year will release a new fragrance that plays on similar themes.

In 1983, Karan married sculptor Stephan Weiss. The two launched her fashion house in 1984 and continued working closely until Weiss lost his life to lung cancer in 2001. Six years after his death, Karan founded the Urban Zen Foundation, a nonprofit that addresses educational opportunities, cultural preservation and integrative health. The organization is particularly active in Haiti; during her San Francisco appearances, Karan carried a handbag made by one of the country’s craftspeople.

The fall Donna Karan New York collection presents the masculine and feminine through a mix of tailored jackets and menswear-inspired looks as well as playful skirts, polished eveningwear and Karan’s signature bodysuits. Sleek, shimmering fabrics, white cuffs, pinstripes and pops of red play off other richly textured pieces done in classic black.

After the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary luncheon, Karan celebrated the opening of her Saks San Francisco boutique, taking photographs with guests and talking fashion as they tried on pieces from her lines.

Cheryl Fordham, vice president and general manager of Saks Fifth Avenue San Francisco, said her store is happy to offer shoppers such a well-rounded selection of design and fashion.

“Donna Karan New York is an iconic fashion house and Saks Fifth Avenue San Francisco is ecstatic to continue its partnership with the brand,” she said.

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