Donna Karan : The color of Zen
Donna Karan
The color of Zen
L.V. + Richard Powers, July 14, 2008
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


PORTRAIT

Donna Karan built her enormous fashion empire in less than a decade on one extraordinarily simple idea: If she needs a particular item of clothing - a bodysuit, a wrap skirt, a chiffon blouse, a longer jacket - then every other woman needs it too. This theory of visually inspired instincts made her one of the top fashion designers in the world. In 1992 Donna Karan New York, then totaling 14 divisions including fragrance, body care products, accessories, lingerie, and mens, womens, and childrenswear, grossed $275 million. Karan was born Donna Faske in 1948 in New York and raised on Long Island. Her mother was a model and her father a haberdasher. Karan was fashion-obsessed from an early age, attending Parson's School of Design, which she left, without a degree, to take an assistant position at Anne Klein, one of the top design firms in the country.

Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Donna Karan founded her company in 1984: "To design modern clothes for modern people". Based on an intuitive understanding of a woman's needs and desires, she created a head-to-toe concept based on "seven easy pieces" that mixed and matched into a day-into-evening wardrobe, a revolutionary concept at the time. Hallmarks included body-conscious shapes, tactile stretch fabrics, cashmere knits, leather and gold artisan touches - all unified with a black palette. Donna Karan New York, and its fast-fashion counterpart DKNY, speak to an international lifestyle, as represented by New York City, where it all began.

Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Over the years, the company has evolved, diversified and greatly expanded, but Karan's original philosophy and vision remain the same. Donna Karan New York embodies the ultimate in luxury, sensuality, comfort and creative expression for women and men. Introduced in 1989, DKNY is the energy and spirit of New York. International, eclectic, fun, fast and real. DKNY embraces every age, lifestyle and activity, from work to weekend, jeans to evening.

Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Completing the head-to-toe vision, both Donna Karan New York and DKNY extend to include myriad labels, like hosiery, eyewear, intimate apparel, and in DKNY's case, Jeans, Juniors, Active, City, Kids and Baby. The menswear lines also have their own accessory lines as well. Proving that Donna Karan New York and DKNY are about lifestyles, both have innovative beauty lines, including award-winning fragrances, and urban-inspired home collections - luxe beddings for Collection, spirited contemporary style for DKNY.

Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Donna Karan International has over eighty Donna Karan New York and DKNY stores worldwide. Maintaining an open dialogue with her customer is essential to Karan. The company regularly publishes style-related books, sponsors art exhibits and produces a bi-annual magazine called Woman to Woman, where Karan speaks directly to her Collection customer. Karan and her company are involved in leading the American fashion industry in civic and charitable endeavors, spearheading fund-raisers for causes such as The Ovarian Cancer Fund and The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. "Fashion should be about making it very stylish to help others any way we can," says Karan.

Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


Today, Karan's company is a lifestyle brand producing menswear, jeans, accessories, hosiery, fragrance and cosmetics. She sold it in April 2001 to French luxury conglomerate LVMH for almost $250 million in cash. LVMH had previously acquired Karan's license-holding company, Gabrielle Studio, bringing the total value of the sale to $643 million. She remains the designer of the brand.

Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers
Donna Karan's Apartment in Manhattan_Richard Powers


DONNA KARAN_DKNY
DONNA KARAN_DKNY