Donna Karan is the fashion designer and the creator of the DKNY (Donna Karan New York) clothing label. She was born Donna Ivy Faske on October 2, 1948 in Forest Hills, New York. She grew up in Woodmere, Long Island with her stepfather who was a tailor and her mother who was a model and started selling clothing on Cedarhurst, New York's Central Avenue at age 14. She graduated from Hewlett High School in 1966 and then went on to Parsons The New School for Design for two years. She left to work for Anne Klein. Eventually she became head of the Anne Klein design-team and remained in this position until 1989. At that time, she launched the Essentials line, and her legendary "Seven Easy Pieces." She married Mark Karan in the early 1970s.
The European DKNY business was damaged in the early 1990s by poor quality and flawed logistics which resulted in the creation of a European supply center in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The company later announced to show their collection at the Milan fashion week in 1996 but later backed out again.
Karan is the founder of many charities including, most recently, the Urban Zen initiative. On March 14 and 15 2008, Karan organized a huge sale of her personal belongings and vintage company samples at her late husband's studio to benefit the cause.
She has lived in Lawrence, Nassau County, New York.
Donna Karan, Inc. and LVMH
In mid-1997 Donna Karan quit as CEO
of the company but has officially remained chairwoman
in charge of the Donna Karan line.
Actually, the line these days is designed by Peter Speliopoulos
, a talented former Cerruti
designer, with Karan contributing little subtleties or even entire new creations. The DKNY
line is entirely designed by Jane Chung, a Karan employee since the days at Anne Klein.
Most merchandise is licensed. Liz Claiborne
markets the DKNY Jeans and Active brands lines, and Estée Lauder
is in charge for the cosmetics business.
In 1997, Donna Karan signed licensing deals with Wacoal America for men's and women's DKNY
intimate apparel, Esprit
children's apparel, Phillips Van Heusen
men's dress shirts, Mallory & Church for DKNY
men's ties and hosiery, Peerless Clothing for DKNY
suits and sport coats, and Max Leather for belts and small leather goods.
In 1998, things had turned for DKNY: a men's dress shirt sells now for up to $125 while a Calvin Klein sportswear dress shirt is almost half. The couture Donna Karan Signature line for men, which was comparable to the men's line of Calvin Klein Collection, has been pulled from the market.
In November 2001, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) fashion giant completes the acquisition of DKNY Inc. in a $243 million deal.
As of October 2006, Mark Weber is CEO of Donna Karan International.
In August 2008, Donna Karan relaunched her discontinued fragrance line from the 1990s. These include DK Fuel for Men, Signature, Chaos, and Black Cashmere. They are available exclusively in the United States at Bergdorf Goodman New York and in England at Harrods Knightsbridge.
Donna Karan stores
The first DKNY
flagship store opened in 1999 at Madison Avenue
and 60th in New York
. According to the company’s web site there are Donna Karan stores in New York
, Costa Mesa
, Las Vegas
. The Donna Karan store in Berlin
was closed in December 2001. The DKNY
label has its own stores, located predominantly in retail shopping malls. Apart from DKNY
stores in New York
, Costa Mesa
, Short Hills
, Las Vegas
, Los Angeles
, there are international outlets in London
, Hong Kong
, Tel Aviv
, as well as Cancún
, Kuala Lumpur
, and Athens
among others. In addition, there are so-called Donna Karan Company stores, predominantly located within outlet malls, which sell the merchandise at reduced prices.
Since 2005, Donna Karan has offered online shopping of its DKNY and associated lines at the label's web site. Products range from DKNY and DKNY Jeans womenswear, accessories, underwear, shoes, baby clothing, the PURE collection to DKNY menswear. The latter was available up until the spring 2007 season. Since then only the DKNY Jeans label, underwear, eyewear and watches have been offered online for men.
The company maintains design studios, showrooms and offices at 550 Seventh Avenue (Manhattan) (headquarters) and 240 W. 40th St. in New York City.
Donna Karan fragrances
- Donna Karan (women, 1992; in limited distribution, including Bergdorf Goodman (US) and Harrods (UK) in August 2008)
- Cashmere Mist (women, 1994)
- DK Men Fuel (men, 1994; discontinued -- relaunched exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman (US) and Harrods (UK) in August 2008)
- DK Men Unleaded (men, 1995; discontinued)
- Chaos (women, 1996; discontinued -- relaunched exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman (US) and Harrods (UK) in August 2008)
- DKNY Women (women, 1999; no longer sold in North America, but still sold in Europe and Asia)
- DKNY Men (men, 2000; no longer sold in North America, but still sold in Europe and Asia)
- Black Cashmere (women, 2002; currently in limited distribution -- Bergdorf Goodman (US) and Harrods (UK))
- DKNY Energy Women (women, 2002; sold outside North America only)
- DKNY Energy Men (men, (2002; sold outside North America only)
- Pure Cashmere (women, 2004; limited edition)
- DKNY Be Delicious Women (women, 2004)
- DKNY Be Delicious Men (men, 2004)
- DKNY Red Delicious Women (women, 2006; limited edition)
- DKNY Red Delicious Men (men, 2006; limited edition)
- Donna Karan Gold (women, 2006)
- DKNY Delicious Night Women (women, 2007)
- DK Lavender Essence (women, 2005 -- in limited distribution, including Bergdorf Goodman (US) and Harrods (UK))
- DK Wenge Essence (women, 2005 -- in limited distribution, including Bergdorf Goodman (US) and Harrods (UK))
- DK Labdanum Essence (women, 2005 -- in limited distribution, including Bergdorf Goodman (US) and Harrods (UK))
- DK Jasmine (women, 2005 -- in limited distribution, including Bergdorf Goodman (US) and Harrods (UK))
- Karan won the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award in 1977 and once again in 1982 (together with Louis Dell’Ollio for Anne Klein).
- She was inducted into the Coty Hall Of Fame in 1984.
- The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) named her Menswear Designer of the Year 1992 and Womenswear Designer of the Year 1990 and 1996. She was a nominee for the latter again in 2003 and was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the CFDA in 2004. She won special CFDA awards in 1985, 1986 and 1987.
- She was also honored by Fashion Group International at its Night of Stars gala.