I was futtering about the house the other day, still in my jammies, with no definite plans for the day when the door bell rang. Our front door swells when it rains and it sticks and I can’t open it, so I go out the back door, walk round the side of the house to see who’s there. Would you believe it? It’s Donna Karan herself!
She said she was in the area and thought she’d call just on the off-chance that I was home. Well, I had to invite her in didn’t I? – her having made the effort and all. I made her a cup of tea and then she asked to see my sewing room.
“It’s a mess” I say
“Oh that’s OK” she replies, “all the best ones are.”
“But I’m not sewing anything at the minute; there’s nothing to see.” I try to squirm out
“I’ve a few hours to kill” she insists, “Maybe I’ll help you tidy up.”
Geez! So we go the stairs to the messy sewing room and what’s lying on the table but Donna Karan Vogue 1440. That was convenient, methinks silently. She notices it straightaway and asks what fabric I have.
“I don’t have a stash” I admit a little sheepishly.
“Well, let’s see what you do have.” says Donna. “You must have a few bits and pieces.” I’m thinking – there’s just no dissuading this woman.
So I manage to drag out a bit of pink and white cotton gingham just to keep her happy. If she messes it up, it’s no big loss: I wasn’t that convinced of its wearability anyway. Donna decides to make the blouse.
“Brilliant! Fabulous! Darling colours! So on trend! It’s perfect!” Donna gushes. And I think “How long is this woman going be here?”
Within an hour, she has the blouse cut out and tailor tacked and the main pieces pinned together. Yes, Donna tailor tacks!
As I subsumed the role of Donna’s apprentice in my own sewing room – I made more tea, threaded the machine and picked up the scraps of gingham off the floor.
Off she went sewing like a demon – demanding endless cups of tea (and I believe toast at one point but I lost track). I got bored and went to have my shower at long last and get dressed. Do I wear some DK stuff that I’ve made I wondered or is that a bit too sycophantic? I opted for Alabama Chanin instead – at least it’s American I convinced myself.
I’m doing my make-up when I hear the call “I’m done! Come and see!”
With a silent sigh and a false smile, I go back to the sewing room to find Doris wearing a genuine Donna Karan blouse. And oh my gosh, now it’s my turn to gush and squeal. It’s lovely, fabulous, summery, unusual – so Donna Karan!
“I should have told you this before” I say to Donna, ” But Doris and me are actually completely different shapes. She’s a girl from the ’60s and I’m a middle-aged, overweight woman from the late 20th century.”
“Don’t worry about that.” replies Donna, “I could see the differences and I adjusted for them.” At this point I’m impressed but I still haven’t tried on the blouse.
“Take off that hand made stuff and try it on.” she commands, “Do you have some plain black or white jeans?”
“Emmm, perhaps” I admit, again sheepishly. This woman can make me feel like I’ve nothing to wear! So I go back to the bedroom and change; despite all that thinking about what to wear when Donna Karan is in your sewing room!
I try on the blouse and really, it is fabulous. The fit is perfect. I love the long length, almost tunic but not quite: the covered buttons: the shirt-tail hem with a little back split: loose but not billowy: the detail at the back shoulders. The only gripe I have is lack of sleeves but there’s always cardigans for cover up and really, sleeves would be impossible on this blouse with the very specific shoulder details. I might just get over my sleeveless hang-up with this blouse………There’s just one little problem and the back shoulders are cut so that bra straps are visible – racer-back bra needed. And for Mrs Mole, the dart points are are in the absolutely perfect place!
Late in the afternoon Donna left and I was left with a very wearable, summery blouse that did not waste my gingham fabric. I now own a genuine Donna Karan blouse – she sewed it herself! I’m missing a label and a £XXXX price tag so I’m the only one who actually knows it’s genuine.
If you sew a DK pattern, or any other designer for that matter, can you say that “This is a Donna Karan”? What makes a RTW item DK or yours?
Elaine, you can tell your students that you read it on the Internet, so it must be true!