Donna Karan has stepped down. To those unfamiliar with her New York sophistication and urban fashion sense, it may not seem like a big deal. To those of us who wore her clothes for decades, it’s cataclysmic.

“I have made this decision after much soul-searching,” said 66-year-old Karan in a statement.

She plans to spend her time traveling abroad where she helps artisans build self-sustaining businesses. While philanthropy is a noble cause — especially when compared to capitalism — how the rest of us will sustain ourselves is in question.

Her minimalist, elegant power statements aren’t easily duplicated. Artists never are.

The 30-year-old fashion house took women out of cocktail dresses and into the corporate world like no one else. No one makes a skirt like Karan, or a coat, a blend of femininity and female clout. Her collections, often in neutral colors, lasted through trends and time. Hilary Clinton wore one of her “cold shoulder” designs at a White House dinner, and there was a fanciful Karan ad campaign depicting a woman being sworn in as president. The idea was fantasy, perhaps, but the Capitol-ready clothes were not.

I’ve combed stores for her for years and collected her clothes. There’s one black dress in particular that’s the best dress I’ve ever owned in my life. Devoid of anything other than excellent design, I never looked better than when I wore it. I keep it in my closet to remind me of what beauty and elegance really look like.

But talent doesn’t come cheap. Like the Big Apple itself, Donna Karan designs were expensive. Once a man on the street spoke up when I walked by wearing one of her shirts.

“D-K-N-Y? I just tell my wife D-K-N-O.”

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at or at

Patron party

Acting Unlimited unleashed its final rehearsal of “The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy” preceded by a VIP — make that “RIP” — party at the Blue Moon Saloon. The macabre cocktail hour featured wine and hors d’oeuvres plus a meet-and-greet with cast members and a sneak peek pass to the play. “We’ve been producing shows since the ’90s,” said Elaine Kibodeaux, president of Acting Unlimited. “We do one big show a year at Burke Hall, and this year it’s Addams.” Creepy and kooky were Abby Boudreaux as Wednesday, Will Bass as Lurch the butler, Ken Harrelson as Gomez Addams, Ali Roberts as Morticia and as Grandma, none other than Rose Hoffman Cormier. You’re a long way from Marilyn Monreaux, Rose.

Red hot

Krewe of Zeus held its Red & White-themed dance at the Petroleum Club. There was no shortage of ladies in red or gentlemen either, including Malcolm Domingue who said, “I wear this coat twice a year — at this dance and Christmas.” Don’t forget Valentine’s Day, and speaking of, congratulations to Richard Guidry and Gwen Bowen, who were engaged two weeks ago. Bowen used to dance in Baton Rouge and she knows how to flash a diamond.

‘Così Fan Tutte’

There’s nothing hotter than love, and “Thus do All (Women)” received a millennial makeover in the piazza of the Paul and Lulu Hilliard Art Museum. Produced by Ashley Duplechien and sponsored by the Acadiana Center for the Arts, LEDA, UAM and the Music Box, the opera buffa by Mozart was an excellent choice for the hot August night. “It’s modernized, not period,” said Duplechien, who wrote the original English script. “The boys are frat brothers and the two sisters are the dean’s daughters.” The college context was perfect for the site and so was heat and humidity. It’s the AC and indoors that are the real obstacles for opera singers. “All of your singing goes straight into the carpet,” explained cast member Michael Bade.