Donna Karan: Embodying the Modern Woman
It started as a vision. Today, it is an Empire built around the name of a woman from Long Island, NY. Donna Karan.
The story began in New York. Donna Karan was born into fashion; with a tailor for a stepfather and a mother who was a showroom model turned Seventh Avenue saleswoman. Donna worked as a salesgirl when she was 14 in a boutique-clothing store in Cedarhurst, NY and eventually began modeling for fashion illustrators. While still in high school, she produced her first clothing line and staged her first show. Post high school, Karan enrolled at Parsons School of Design. After her second year, she received an internship with Anne Klein, America’s first sportswear designer. Klein became her mentor and persuaded DK to leave Parson’s to work full-time. She was promoted to Associate Designer in 1971 and maintained a close connection with her mentor until 1974 when Anne Klein passed away. Days after Klein’s death, Tomio Taki (50% stakeholder in the company at the time) named Donna Karan her successor. At the young age of 26, Donna Karan was the head designer of one of America’s top design firms.
While in this position Karan launched “Anne Klein II”, a “bridge” line that the average woman could afford. It turned into a huge retail success causing other up and coming designers such as Calvin Klein to follow suit.
In 1984, after over a decade of dedication to Anne Klein and a successful integration of Anne Klein II, Karan decided it was time to follow a lifelong dream of starting her own company.
To create modern clothes for modern people.
This woman makes an impact when she walks in a room; heads turn and people are intrigued. They can’t quite put their finger on what attracts them to her aroma. She exudes confidence and looks simply amazing.
Each of her brands are inspired by how to put together the perfect ensemble for each life style from head to toe. She has taken every single detail into consideration.
For me, designing is an expression of who I am as a woman, with all the complications, feelings and emotions.”
Donna Karan is a mother, a wife, friend and businesswoman. All of her roles have enhanced her ability to address the issues women have in fashion and making it simpler to look great in an affordable way.
The Original Ingredients: A body suit, Coat, Jacket, Blouse, Skirt, Pants and a splash of something elegant for evening time.
These ingredients comprise Donna Karan’s Essentials; “Seven Easy Pieces” that are fundamental to a cohesive, interchangeable wardrobe. With this concept as her foundation, Donna Karan reinvented the way women dressed for work. She left behind the traditional masculine inspired clean-cut, symmetrical suits for designs that convey feminine sensuality and power.
Donna Karan launched her first line in 1985. Ever since, her designs have been manifested in comfortable, lavish materials that accentuate the curves of a woman’s body. The fluidity of the fabric and subtle details in the Donna Karan New York collection encourages a woman to stride in confidence whatever her walk of life may be.
After mastering her upscale collection, Donna Karan strategically broadened her vision. She kept the bigger picture in sight, thinking artful utility and accessibility. In 1989 she created DKNY for the younger cutting edge urbanite. DKNY offers a more diverse affordable line of items for work, school and play. From this line spun DKNY Jeans, DKNY Active, DKNY Underwear, DKNY JEANS Juniors, and DKNY Kids. DK has also launched Donna Karan home. Where her clothing and accessory lines give insight into the life of urban women, her home furnishings welcome you to the New York City lifestyle; A glimpse of her life.
Donna Karan continues to develop and share her timeless creativity. Karan founded the Urban Zen Initiative in 2007 with the future in mind. The intentions of this foundation are to empower children, preserve culture and promote wellness. For her it has always been about encouraging a way of life. She believes in living qualitatively and happily with respect to this busy world. “Everything I do is a matter of heart, body and soul.”