Donna Karan steps down, let’s recap DKI

July 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Fashion, Featured Items

Donna Karan taking her final catwalk bow at her autumn/winter 2015 show

Donna Karan is stepping down as the head designer of her eponymous label Donna Karan International. The 66-year-old, who co-founded (with her late husband Stephan Weiss) the company in 1984 that now includes such famous brands as Donna Karan New York and DKNY, has decided to invest more time in her independently owned lifestyle brand Urban Zen. She will however stay active as a close advisor to the company DKI (Donna Karan International) that is now looking for a new designer.

Over the past three decades, Donna Karan has inspired women around the world to embrace their power and sensuality. ‘When she started her collection in 1985 she set out to simply make clothes for her and her friends’, the company stated this week. Yet after her launch in 1984 Donna Karan quickly made a name for herself. One year later she introduced her first Seven Easy Pieces collection. Fashion items every woman should own, like a plain pair of trousers, a body suit, a woollen sweater, a leather jacket, an evening dress. Donna Karan wanted to dress women in comfort and liberate them from the eighties power suits. She made New York uptown dressing her signature and therefore used yellow cabs as backdrops and in her commercials. She introduced DKNY for a younger customer with her daughter Gaby in mind. Donna Karan is known for her red evening gowns too, dressing stars like Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz and, most recently, face of the brand Rita Ora.

Fun facts
Donna Karan:
was born into fashion in 1948 to a model mother, who worked on Seventh Avenue.
skipped school in 1969 only to come back and get her bachelor’s degree in 1986
invented “the body” – one of the most practical eighties items
once broke both knees skiing
is a Libra and claims she can’t make decisions
launched a special Ramadan collection for her Middle-Eastern customers

“LVMH and I have made this decision after much soul-searching. I have arrived at a point in my life where I need to spend more time to pursue my Urban Zen commitment to its fullest potential and follow my vision of philanthropy and commerce with a focus on health care, education and preservation of cultures. After considering the right time to take this step for several years, I feel confident that DKI has a bright future and a strong team in place”, Karan said in a statement.

There will be no spring/summer 2016 catwalk show at New York Fashion Week this September while DKI is looking for a replacement for Karan.

The end of an era, but the future is bright. Now let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of her twenty years of fashion design for both DKNY and Donna Karan with our image gallery below.


Donna Karan Catwalk Fashion Show New York FW2015

February 17, 2015 by  
Filed under Fashion, New York, womenswear

Donna Karan’s whole career has been inspired by New York City. For Fall she used the nighttime skyline as a backdrop for the runway, and made the blacks and grays of the buildings and the glinting golds of their lights her show’s central colors. Perched on platform sandals or boots, the collection’s long, lean silhouette owed something to the city’s new class of super-scrapers. New York is tall and getting taller. It’s a melting pot, too. Obi-like belts and origami folds on the one hand and opulent, burnished brocades on the other conveyed something of its multicultural glamour.

Depending on the season, Karan shifts between tailoring and dresses. This collection was mostly built on the former. All manner of jackets, from blazers to a leather bomber, were belted at the midriff above tapering trousers or narrow skirts. Her evening dresses had a modern spirit.

Donna Karan Catwalk Fashion Show New York Womenswear FW2014

February 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion, Featured Items, New York, womenswear

It was an emotional moment when Donna Karan took her bow yesterday after her show – she celebrated 30 years in fashion and that didn’t happen easily. But the applause was well deserved, not only because she is a remarkable designer, but also because her fall-collection had everything Karan is famous for. A collection with a city vibe, sensual, urbane.
Her show opened with with three versions of her original building block — the body — now rendered as body jacket and body shirt as well as bodysuit. These were worn with over-the-knee suede boots and caps frothed with dollops of long-hair shearling, giving the models the air of showgirls at a decadent yet refined nightclub. They set the stage for a parade of the Best of Donna.
Evening-wear rocked, particularly the gowns with fluid, translucent skirts that wafted provocatively over bodysuits and bare legs. Some were beaded in celebration of New York’s night sky.

Donna Karan Catwalk Fashion Show New York Womenswear SS2014

September 10, 2013 by  
Filed under womenswear

Donna Karan loves artisanal craftsmanschip and her collections reflect that affinity. For her spring-collection she tried to turn the sensuality real viagra without prescription and ease of a hand-blocked scarf into a chic urban wardrobe. She started with indigo for lean dresses in stretch jersey and georgette with paneled cuts and low-slung wide brown leather belts that added an earthy elan. The block prints and a hand-painted python jacket looked enticing in their blue hues, while a short embroidered wrap skirt worn with a silk skirt injected a sporty element.
The blues were followed by brown hues, some block printed with black.

Donna Karan Catwalk Fashion Show Womenswear New York FW2013

February 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Fashion, New York, womenswear

A return to the body, is what Donna Karan had to say about her FW2013 collection. Sensual, soulful and sculptural was the title. And it referred to the clothes that indeed reflected her sexy, bodycentric allure. Karan draped, twisted and slashed her jerseys in great dresses. There were also beautifully sculpted coats. Capes are a trend right now, and the designer did all kinds: asymmetrical and sweeping in jersey, built into a jacket, to the floor for evening.

Donna Karan Catwalk Fashion Show New York SS2013

September 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion, New York, Slideshow, womenswear

The spring summer 2013 collection of Donna Karan was about nature: sand, water, light. Abd it was light in every sense, floaty fabrics, slithering shapes and colors like dawn-sky blue and rich sunset pink. The silhouette – fitted-on-top, full-below-the-waist  – was borrowed from the world of ballet, or the 1950s.

Donna Karan Catwalk Fashion Show New York FW2012

February 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion, Featured Items, New York, womenswear

Donna Karan returned to chic urbanity for coming fall. The collection focused on a thin silhouette and men’s tailoring, often in pinstripes. Karan incorporated her signature a-symmetric style — half-collars, side-draping, off-kilter slits — and dared to revive an audacious shoulder. The dresses shown had an architectural, sculpted feel, as though the fabric – black matte crepes – had been simply moulded around the models’ bodies. She finished everything off with fabulous asymmetric hats. Eveningwear looked  fresh with lean, constructed gowns and a nice mix of felted jersey and sequins on sheer fabrics.

Donna Karan Catwalk Fashion Show New York SS2012

September 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Fashion, Featured Items, New York, womenswear

For coming spring Donna Karan’s collection is all about tribal. She brought together a beautiful color palette of earthy tones, vivid prints, wearable feminine pieces and statement tribal jewelery. All slightly inspired by Haiti, which she visited last year.

But as strong as the theme of the collection was, the designs were still very Donna Karan. The one shoulder dresses, the tunics, the loose skirts, the sporty details and the cutouts; all perfect for Karan’s American woman.

There was enough variety to get dressed for any kind of situation. A cool bathing suit for the beach, a figure-hugging dress to hit the club in, a tunic and pants for a business meeting, a printed dress for a family lunch, a dress + leather jacket for shopping and a column gown to wow everyone at a summer gala. That is, if you’re into tribal of course.


Donna Karan Catwalk Fashion Show New York FW2011

February 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Fashion, Featured Items, New York, womenswear

Donna Karan loves to work with contradictions. Masculine-feminine, natural and urban, soft and rough, satin and fur. She continued last season’s pale palette, now  pearl gray and taupe instead of ivory-beige.

As for the clothes, except two pairs of high-waisted draped jersey pants, Karan showed dresses, skirtsuits, and coats, along with a few filmy blouses with draped necklines that sometimes doubled as head scarves. Every look, without exception, had a nipped waist. Karan was at her best in terms of cut, decorating the clothes not with extra stuff but with elegant drapes and folds. One dress was tucked on a soft diagonal and wrapped in front; another fell into a gently  cowl. The jacket of a slim suit had sleeves that tapered from wide, puffed shoulders. Another big hit of this collection were the shearlings and coats.

Often the looks were accessorized with flowing chiffon headscarves worn with a mysterious air of the runway variety, exquisite pearl necklaces and long gloves with deep, dramatic fur cuffs.

Donna Karan Catwalk Fashion Show New York SS2011

September 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Fashion, Featured Items, New York, womenswear

You can leave it to Donna Karan to make a theme like ‘Raw Romance’ into a beautiful, strong collection in just one color (sand) and a contrasting mix of crumpled jackets and sensual dresses and skirts.

This time, Karan left masculine influences behind and just focused at femininity. Even de crinkles looked sensual, and they sometimes reminded of old Issey Miyake-collections. The silhouette was long and lean. Filmy dresses and skirts cut on the bias added a delicate sensuality, fabrics were airy and seductive without being to obvious.

And in all its simplicity it was more personal and emotional than all the other minimalistic collections we saw in New York so far.

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