NEW YORK, N.Y. - If you've ever watched a fashion show and said to yourself, "Those aren't real people out there on the runway," Donna Karan has an answer for that.
For her DKNY runway show Sunday, Karan presented — along with the models, of course — an assortment of non-models: A DJ. A TV presenter. A printmaker. A few students. A biologist, a "night life hostess," and, in the most intriguing entry in the show's written program, a "tattoo artist/ pro skateboarder."
The "real people" (not that you aren't real, models, but your looks are rather unreal) walked the runway with confidence, and drew enthusiastic cheers. Some were built almost like models, others weren't, and some even had (gasp) grey hair, but they all looked great in Karan's colorful clothes.
The show began with a short film featuring the young New Yorkers about to walk the runway, speaking about where they live — Greenpoint in Brooklyn, for example, and Tribeca — and why they came to New York.
Angel Haze, a musician, wore a favourite DKNY look: a long black faux fur vest. Devan Mayfield, a painter and a health practitioner, wore a crepe houndstooth and lace shift dress. Daniel Bamdad, a TV presenter, wore slim black jeans and a black cotton cutoff shirt. Masha Korchagina, an actress and biologist, wore a black and white shearling "cape vest." Melissa Burns, the nightlife hostess, wore a striped shearling coat.
Some of the nice looks went to the models, too, including an edgy black vinyl pleated slip dress, a delicate grey lace dress with a pleated hem, and the filmy silk, lace and flannel long slip dress that closed the show — all in grey.
Karan said she decided to use non-professional models because "DKNY really is about the streets. It's about the streets of New York, the energy of New York, the people of New York. You know, seeing how they do their hair, and their look and their style. Designers try to keep up with them."
Singer Rita Ora was in the audience. She walked the DKNY runway last September to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the line, which is more casual than Karan's higher-end signature line, and geared toward younger consumers.
Ora said a few words —but wouldn't give anything away — about the forthcoming film "50 Shades of Grey," in which she plays protagonist Christian Grey's sister. "We're just filming at the moment," she said. "Everybody's been asking me but honestly I can't spoil it, so you're all going to (have to) watch it. It's amazing and I'm so happy to be a part of it."
Karan said she plans to see the film: "Absolutely!"
Associated Press Writer Nicole Evatt contributed to this report.