Donna Karan made her name in the Eighties with stylish, practical clothes for well-heeled, working women. She's synonymous with "the body", a top and knickers in one with fiddly poppers at the crotch. A good idea, because it stops your top going all wrinkly round your midriff.
But Donna seems to have veered from the enlightened path of late, using eagle-eyed action girl Demi Moore as a model (would you buy anything you'd seen La Moore's hard-boiled head sticking out of?) and opening a museum- cum-shop in Bond Street, where you have to navigate three security guards and a chunk of modern sculpture to get to the merchandise.
So, are the clothes still up to scratch? Well, this G-string bodysuit costs pounds 250, and with its luxurious, chocolate-brown fabric, looks good enough to eat. It's also extremely comfortable to wear, and if you did guzzle five bars of Galaxy in one sitting, its fabric content (69 per cent rayon, 27 per cent polyester and four per cent spandex) would expand to accommodate. It's also extremely flattering, even on my bulbous body. It's comfy around the crotch and popping and un-popping the big metal fasteners was blissfully uncomplicated.
However, putting clothes on proved a slight problem. The top of the G- string stood out prominently under slinky, stretchy trousers, giving a peculiar "v" shape just below the waist. So is it worth pounds 250?
"Donna Karan clothes are always down to quality," says a company spokeswoman. "Quality of the fabric, manufacturing, the length of time it's going to last. She dresses from the inside out and believes you have to get it right underneath. She considered everything and you're paying for that consideration." Consideration? Could it be the name you're paying for?
"It looks and feels beautiful," says Jill Kenton of Rigby & Peller's, corsetieres to the Queen. "But the fastenings on the crotch are going to rub and become uncomfortable after a day's wear. They don't lie flat, the hem at the gusset is far too bulky. That would irritate the hell out of me. I think at pounds 250 you should expect something better."
Put pounds 234 back in your pocket and you can have a 93 per cent cotton, seven per cent Lycra body from M&S for pounds 16 - but sexy it ain't. It comes from the "big sensible knickers" school of lingerie and has enormous "ride- up-yer-bum" potential. Its flat hem hides itself surprisingly well under the slinkiest of clothes, though you may get RSI from fiddling with the plastic poppers.
Donna Karan's version is mighty pricey, but at least it works.
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