While Donna Karan International has had its successes, it appears that the founder’s leaving the brand for good. It is truly the end of an era, at least in the fashion world, as Donna Karan steps down as chief designer for her eponymous brand after 30 years of working non-stop. At the age of 66, it appears the creative artist has finally decided to retire from the scene, at least in part, and devote her time to her more philanthropic endeavours while remaining a close advisor to the company that has been around since 1984 and includes Donna Karan New York. She has used her career to date to inspire power in women while allowing her to delve into her own sensuality, a top fashion brand that developed from a woman’s dream to make clothing for herself and her friends.
“I want to express my gratitude and my deepest feelings to the dozens and dozens of colleagues over the years who have helped take Donna Karan New York far beyond my wildest dreams,” she states in an interview. In her own words, the brand is a part of her present, as well as her past and future. With her 7 easy pieces, she was able to forever change the way women dressed. After all, Donna’s dresses have brought in the best belles of the ball, worn by Hollywood and fashion’s finest, including Ashley Judd, Katherine Heigle, Kate Beckinsale, Iman, Susan Sarandon, and Penelope Cruz. Her pieces have graced the red carpets for years, as year by year the Donna Karan brand gained in popularity and earned the love of the masses. With her husband’s death came her resignation as CEO and her focus on her philanthropic activities through the Urban Zen Foundation which works in healthcare and education, teaching Eastern healing techniques which include the art of yoga, massages, aromatherapy and others.
Donna Karan actually began her career with Anne Klein and rose from assistant designer to head of design rather quickly. Her Sever Easy Pieces are what got her ball rolling, with their practical and feminine style that could be layered as one wished. She removed the masculine, boxy styles, took out the shoulder padding, and gave women the power to look good while governing companies large and small. She was a rare gem in the early days and soon had friends who would gain their fame around the same time as she did.
Jersey separated and tailored suits are what define the Donna Karan brand, but she most certainly has some incredibly stylish dresses that have been worn over the years by many a celebrity like the long dévoré velvet dress of 1996 that was suspended from some pretty skinny straps and exposed quite a bit of skin. Her pieces were at the absolute pinnacle of American fashion and we loved seeing the DKNY name associated with Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. It never made any sense to her to have winter clothes delivered in July and summer pieces in January and probably never will. Her influence is still seen all around and we are more than happy to acknowledge that little fact with pride, even if her name in the fashion retail industry no longer holds the same power.