Donna Karan is an American fashion designer and the creator of the Donna Karan New York and DKNY clothing labels.
“I design what I feel is missing from my closet”. Donna Karan
Early lifeKaran was born October 2, 1948 as Donna Ivy Faske in Forest Hills, Queens, USA. She grew up in Woodmere, Long Island, New York, with her stepfather, a tailor, and her mother, a model. Karan started selling clothing on Cedarhurst, New York's Central Avenue at age 14.
She graduated from Hewlett High School in 1966, and then went to the Parsons School of Design (later known as Parsons the New School for Design after it became a division of The New School), for two years. She left to work for Anne Klein.
Donna Karan International
Karan began her career as an assistant designer with Anne Klein in the late 1960s, where she was eventually promoted to associate designer in 1971. When Anne Klein herself died in 1974, Takihyo Corporation of Japan became the new owner and Karan, together with her former classmate and friend Louis Dell'Ollio, became head designer of the house.
In 1984, Karan left Anne Klein and, together with her then husband Stephan Weiss and Takihyo Corporation, started her own business "to design modern clothes for modern people". She showed her first women's clothing collection in 1985.
Donna Karan Fashion Show in 1985
Karan became well-known for her 'Essentials' line, initially offering seven easy pieces which could all be mixed and matched, and created a fully integrated wardrobe.
Karan always insisted that she would only design clothes, like jersey dresses and opaque Lycra tights, that she would also wear herself.
She was once described in the early 1990s by the New York Times as “[Ed Koch] in a stretchy black dress”.
Donna Karan SS/00
In 1988, Karan, nicknamed The Queen Of Seventh Avenue by the time, extended her women's 'Donna Karan New York' line by a less expensive one for younger women, called DKNY, a fast fashion line with an urban bent, that Karan calls it “the pizza to the collection’s caviar.”