The Handcrafted Belt

A Jason Ross’ hand-crafting process is as unique as the belts he designs. Once Donna and design director Peter Speliopoulos set the season’s mood, Jason and his team develop prototypes in the spirit of the collection, inspired by their archive of antiques, old tools and images sourced from museums and libraries. They fashion working prototypes, each with original custom-designed buckles, which are narrowed to final selections by Donna and Peter. Then the magic begins. Each belt is entirely hand-assembled using tools that leatherworkers have used for centuries. The strap is individually cut from a full leather hide, then carefully hand-dyed in up to four coats to fit the season’s color story. An exclusive combination of oils and waxes are applied to the leather for its signature luxurious look and feel. The buckle, cast in solid brass or nickel silver, is hand-finished to achieve the uniquely antiqued patina. Additionally, each rivet is hand-ground and polished, with no two rivets exactly alike.  The final touch comes from an antique hot-stamping machine, which brands each belt with “A. Jason Ross for Donna Karan”  and its provenance, “Made in the USA”.

THE ARTISAN HAND: A. JASON ROSS

A. Jason Ross’s leather accessories are true artisan pieces. Each is unique and handmade – a personal object of desire you’ll own forever. I love his work because it’s raw, sexy and creative. It comes from the soul. You can feel the hand that went it to it, the history of the leather and hardware. The pieces look and feel individual because they are – which is why they instantly become a part of you. The formal label is Artemas Quibble and the Creatures of Mme du Barry, and like the name suggests, there’s a quirky, creative element to the work. Every piece is hand-stained, then detailed with silver, brass and reclaimed antique objects. Like the artisan he is, Jason has made many of the tools he works with, which help give patina and character to his work. Jason, who lives and works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, calls his work “a celebration of what has been lost.” Yet to me, there’s a timeless modernity to his pieces – whether it’s his jewelry, bags or belts, which we are presenting with our Modern Icons Spring Collection.  I’ve known and collaborated with Jason for a long time through Urban Zen. Jason’s work preserves and honors the artisan hand in a modern context. Creatively and personally, I’m a huge fan. You will be too.

Shop Jason Ross Belts on DonnaKaran.com

THE THERMOFORM STRETCH ANKLE BOOT



Talk about boots made for walking. This handmade Italian boot is as much about function as it is about fashion. First, it’s made from a combination of stretch sateen and luminescent croc print, so you have the sleek comfort of stretch, mixed with the high glam of croc. Second, it’s a pull-on, which speaks to ease and speed. The insole is triple padded, its boot shaft elasticized. Most critical, the small platform allows us to use a mid-size heel, so you have the sky-high look without the sky-high arch. I also love that the platform and under-arch is one piece, so it’s seamless look from every ankle.

THE THERMOFORM STRETCH ANKLE BOOT

Talk about boots made for walking. This handmade Italian boot is as much about function as it is about fashion. First, it’s made from a combination of stretch sateen and luminescent croc print, so you have the sleek comfort of stretch, mixed with the high glam of croc. Second, it’s a pull-on, which speaks to ease and speed. The insole is triple padded, its boot shaft elasticized. Most critical, the small platform allows us to use a mid-size heel, so you have the sky-high look without the sky-high arch. I also love that the platform and under-arch is one piece, so it’s seamless look from every ankle.



LIFE ON THE FRINGE  
I love everything about this vest. It’s chic and casual with just enough bohemian vibe. It’s also warm and looks great over everything, whether with skinny pants and boots or a sexy jersey dress and heels. Made of shearling, the skin is constructed and shredded into oversized fringe that swing just a bit when you walk. It’s one of those unique defining pieces that makes everything it’s worn with look special.

LIFE ON THE FRINGE 

I love everything about this vest. It’s chic and casual with just enough bohemian vibe. It’s also warm and looks great over everything, whether with skinny pants and boots or a sexy jersey dress and heels. Made of shearling, the skin is constructed and shredded into oversized fringe that swing just a bit when you walk. It’s one of those unique defining pieces that makes everything it’s worn with look special.

ART OF ILLUSION 
My favorite evening looks always strategically reveal and conceal, flashing just enough skin to seduce, but with enough coverage so you don’t feel exposed. This strapless envelope dress is made in Italian doubleknit felt jersey which holds you securely, yet has a tulle inset on the leg for a peek of veiled skin.  Sequins cascade down from the top and onto the inset for that touch of evening sizzle to catch the light.
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ART OF ILLUSION

My favorite evening looks always strategically reveal and conceal, flashing just enough skin to seduce, but with enough coverage so you don’t feel exposed. This strapless envelope dress is made in Italian doubleknit felt jersey which holds you securely, yet has a tulle inset on the leg for a peek of veiled skin.  Sequins cascade down from the top and onto the inset for that touch of evening sizzle to catch the light.

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BIG CITY JUNGLE
You have to love the attitude and novelty of an animal print coat – especially if it’s soft and made from supple goatskin, like this ocelot-patterned one. Menswear-inspired, the coat’s shoulder is dropped and the portrait collar dramatic, yet the lines are narrow at the waist and bottom. The gunmetal buckle gives it a focal point.  Animal prints are the ultimate neutral – they go with everything and live on forever.

Shop the look

BIG CITY JUNGLE

You have to love the attitude and novelty of an animal print coat – especially if it’s soft and made from supple goatskin, like this ocelot-patterned one. Menswear-inspired, the coat’s shoulder is dropped and the portrait collar dramatic, yet the lines are narrow at the waist and bottom. The gunmetal buckle gives it a focal point.  Animal prints are the ultimate neutral – they go with everything and live on forever.


Shop the look

WHITES OF SPRING 
This dress is like a blank canvas. A crisp ivory summer dress that is flirty, feminine and versatile. Pair back to flats for a more casual look, or dress it up as shown here. Every spring brings that one dress that sheds new light on everything. This is it. In cotton stretch canvas, its asymmetrical top hugs the torso before it gives way to a tented skirt suspended with volume that flatters the body.

WHITES OF SPRING

This dress is like a blank canvas. A crisp ivory summer dress that is flirty, feminine and versatile. Pair back to flats for a more casual look, or dress it up as shown here. Every spring brings that one dress that sheds new light on everything. This is it. In cotton stretch canvas, its asymmetrical top hugs the torso before it gives way to a tented skirt suspended with volume that flatters the body.

THE URBAN SWIRL
This pristine silk sheer organza blouse can be paired back to a full skirt (as shown on the runway), lean leg, or fabulous cocktail dress. Ships with a jersey camisole for coverage, this parasol silhouette spirals on the body, even when tented with volume, like this paper canvas swirl skirt. The juicy color of this skirt teamed with the grace of a silk gazar shirt creates a look that is easy, urban and cool – just what you want for spring.

THE URBAN SWIRL

This pristine silk sheer organza blouse can be paired back to a full skirt (as shown on the runway), lean leg, or fabulous cocktail dress. Ships with a jersey camisole for coverage, this parasol silhouette spirals on the body, even when tented with volume, like this paper canvas swirl skirt. The juicy color of this skirt teamed with the grace of a silk gazar shirt creates a look that is easy, urban and cool – just what you want for spring.

THE TOTEM DRESS 
A fantastic tubular dress – very to the body, long and lean. This undeniably sexy body conscious dress is built on a jersey bodice for comfort, ease and movement. This dress uses hand cut appliqué strokes of color and geometric cuts of fabric to echo and define the body in earth, black and bone. The brass and ebony wood studs give it that extra artisan beading touch.

THE TOTEM DRESS

A fantastic tubular dress – very to the body, long and lean. This undeniably sexy body conscious dress is built on a jersey bodice for comfort, ease and movement. This dress uses hand cut appliqué strokes of color and geometric cuts of fabric to echo and define the body in earth, black and bone. The brass and ebony wood studs give it that extra artisan beading touch.

ANKLE CUFF WEDGE
The ankle cuff gladiator is hand crafted in hand painted python, soft natural calf or woven elastic atop an open-wedge heel. The construction is a hand-carved tribal mask in wenge, redwood or sycamore that works in harmony with a futuristic, transparent lucite sole with a wood veneer insole.

ANKLE CUFF WEDGE

The ankle cuff gladiator is hand crafted in hand painted python, soft natural calf or woven elastic atop an open-wedge heel. The construction is a hand-carved tribal mask in wenge, redwood or sycamore that works in harmony with a futuristic, transparent lucite sole with a wood veneer insole.