House suspends collections and runway shows “for a period of time.”


By Kenneth Richard | The Impressionist

One of America’s greatest design visionaries, Donna Karan, is stepping down as chief designer from the namesake label she founded over thirty years ago. The 66-year-old creative icon will remain with Donna Karan International as an advisor and plans to dedicate her energies to her Urban Zen Foundation.donna-karan-fashion-show-spring-2015-the-impression-091-680x1024

The LVMH-owned design house is suspending the collection and their runway shows “for a period of time” and will not be seeking a replacement for Karan. The company will shift its internal organization to increase its focus on the DKNY label, which recently named Public School’s Maxwell Osbourne and Dao-Yi Chow as its new creative directors.

Karan founded her label with her late husband Stephan Weiss in 1984 at the tender age of 37 after forging a name for herself as the head of design at Anne Klein. Karan proved to have her finger on the pulse of the market, gaining quick success with her ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ that offered a refreshing alternative to the working women’s wardrobe. She launched her first runway collection in 1985 and evolved into one of America’s unique design visionaries, helping to raise the standard of American design to equal footing with the strongest of European collections of the time. Her feminine draping and exquisite fabrications were often juxtaposed with her subtle tailoring, offering a day to evening collection for the modern American woman.

Donna Karan is a part of me, past, present and future. It has been an honor to speak woman to woman about ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ that forever changed the way women dress. 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.

Donna Karan

Those dreams were often reinterpreted into some of the strongest and most cinematic ad campaigns, in partnership with creative director Trey Laird and his company that was launched from the offices of Donna Karan, Laird+Partners.

Karan took her company public in 1996, while still owning the trademark rights to her name via separate holding company, Gabrielle Studio Inc. Those rights and her company were later acquired by LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton in 2001 for $243 million plus an additional $400 million for the name rights of Gabrielle Studio Inc. It was a groundbreaking designer transaction and one that has yet to be repeated since.

The diffusion label of DKNY was founded on the cusp of the contemporary market in 1989 and today includes DKNY, DKNY Jeans, DKNY Active, DKNY Underwear and DKNY Kids. Newly appointed creative directors, Maxwell Osbourne and Dao-Yi Chow will make their debut collection for the label this upcoming September during New York Fashion Week.

The Impression wishes to thank Donna Karan for raising the bar of American design, fashion branding and marketing as well as for forging a path for female designers and women in the work force. Many a young designer of today has the benefit of standing on her shoulders to achieve their prosperity. We wish her much continued success on Urban Zen as well as a life of zen.