09/09/2013 09:01 EDT | Updated 11/09/2013 05:12 EST

Donna Karan's search for a scarf takes her to familiar ground

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The only home Donna Karan has known is the ultimate urban jungle, New York, yet she often draws on exotic tribal lands as influences for her designs.

It's ground she knows well — and does well, proven again Monday at New York Fashion Week.

The best of her spring collection was classic Karan ideas, day-to-night stretch dresses (especially a one-shouldered, block-print number), coats that you wouldn't want to take off, a man-tailored shirt definitively cut for a woman.

There were rich colours of tobacco and terra-cotta, and it seemed navy was Karan's new black.

She opened the show with a series of indigo-colored viscose dresses. There also were beaded, wrap miniskirts with silk tunics barely tucked into the waistband.

But the key piece was the scarf skirt, which was light and had a lot of life.

"It was all about a search for a scarf. I think as signature to what Donna Karan is about is a bodysuit and a scarf and the tailoring," said Karan in a post-show interview.

She had spied a scarf she fell in love with and it took her on a journey to India — and she came back with a suitcase full of new ones.

"If somebody would say to me, 'What's the most important item to own?' It's a scarf ... because it covers up what you don't want to show, and it shows what you want to show, and it just flows with the body."

It's that sort of thinking that has made Goldie Hawn a fan. Hawn said from her front-row seat: "She designs for all women, all different kinds of women, shapes and sizes."


Emerald Morrow contributed to this report.