DKNY has scored Kaia Gerber as the new face of the brand.
In an effort to tap into Gen Z and usher in a new era for DKNY, the 22-year-old Gerber was photographed by Alasdair McLellan at Spring Studios in New York and was styled by Alastair McKimm for the spring ad campaign.
“Kaia best represents the all-American style which classic DKNY was known for, but with a new energy and spirit,” said Trey Laird, founder and chief creative officer at Team Laird, who created the campaign.
DKNY, which has been a big global business, has undergone a refresh.
“This season brings a whole new energy to DKNY, but with a laser focus on the original tone to build on the DNA of the brand,” said Jeff Goldfarb, executive vice president at G-III Apparel Group, which owns the DKNY brand.
With a renewed focus on DKNY icons and fundamentals, the collection reimagines core elements such as denim, blazers, trenches and leather jackets — all refreshed with a Gen Z twist. There’s also a new take on the DKNY logo, which sets the tone for an all American street style.
The spring 2024 collection is available globally at dkny.com and in select retailers.
According to Laird, the idea was to update the brand and give it a fresh energy. “We really thought this was a great season to really make everything cool. We wanted to do a new logo, a new face of the campaign, a new campaign, a new collection that really concentrates on these essential pieces that were core to DKNY. It’s like a reset, to reclaim what DKNY is and what it stands for,” Laird said.
Laird recalled that Donna Karan, the original designer, started DKNY for her daughter Gabby because she kept stealing Donna’s clothes and Donna wanted a pair of jeans. “And DKNY was born. It was born with a blazer, a jean, a trench, a leather jacket. Those essential core pieces that Donna reinvented for the DKNY audience,” he said. He said they are having Gerber’s mother, Cindy Crawford and all these different generations of iconic models relaunch Donna Karan New York, as reported Thursday.
Laird thought, “Then who do I have to re-express and represent DKNY? We brought on board Kaia Gerber to be the new face of DKNY. Certainly not because she’s Cindy’s daughter, but it is a beautiful coincidence. Cindy is in Donna Karan the same season that DKNY is going out with Kaia with that backstory of Donna and Gabby (which Donna loves by the way),” he said.
He said they kept the campaign really clean and very simple. They worked with McLellan to feature all the DKNY foundation essentials. McKimm also went all around the city, documenting it, so they have these collage layouts. “It’s the city and Kaia felt like the all-American style girl of our time. DKNY was obviously one of the biggest all-American brands to launch in the Nineties. So it felt like a good marriage.”
They started the campaign with a video of Gerber on a New York City billboard, where she literally steps off and out into the city. “She’s amazing. She embodies the brand and the spirit of it,” Laird said.
The digital campaign will launch Monday on Instagram with the videos. “DKNY is super digitally driven, so there’s a lot of digital content going out in all the social and digital units,” Laird said.
The DKNY campaign features a media mix of print, digital, premium outdoor and social/influencer partnerships, according to Jacki Bouza, senior vice president, global marketing and communications at G-III. “Additional campaign content will be rolling out on our Instagram channel throughout the season,” Bouza said.
As part of the media mix, the campaign will run outdoors in Milan and London during fashion weeks there, Spain and the U.S. in New York, Miami and Los Angeles.
Laird said the message behind the campaign is making a statement about the new energy for DKNY.
“Alastair brings this youthful edge to his images. He loves going around New York City and almost seeing the city through his eyes,” Laird said. McKimm has a street touch to his styling, and restyled all the DKNY essentials, adding that even Gerber is wearing a New York Yankees cap. “Whenever she’s out in New York, she wears the Yankees hat in New York City. It’s just like a new start. There’s a touch of taxi cab yellow,” he said.