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DKNY Donna Karan

Updated on January 25, 2012

Donna Karan - "The Queen of 7th Avenue"

Donna Karan is a native New Yorker with fashion in the family: Her mother was a model and both her father and step-father were tailors. Donna Karan functioned as the head designer for Anne Klein until 1984 when she formed her own company. She now oversees the design for 2 clothing lines (DKNY and Donna Karan) as well as a fragrance collection.

Karan is known for her major contribution to '80s fashion, the bodysuit, as well as her signature collections of interchangeable coordinates - "Seven Easy Pieces". In the early 1990s, The New York Times referenced a former New York mayor in their homage to her New-Yorkness, proclaiming Ms. Karan as "Ed Koch in a stretchy black dress."

The year 2001 was pivotal for Karan. Her husband, Stephan Weiss, died of lung cancer. She sold both of her trademarks, Donna Karan and DKNY, as well as her publicly-traded company. While Donna Karan is still actively involved in both Donna Karan and DKNY, she is a forward thinker and has many more ideas for her future.

Keep an eye on both the history and the future of this innovative and powerful woman.

Fashion Runs In The Family

Donna Karan's step-father was a tailor and her mother was a model.

Donna Karan Spring 2011

Live From The Front Row

Donna Karan is at it again. Be sure to tune into the DKNY page on Facebook to view the

SPRING 2011 RUNWAY SHOW LIVE FROM THE FRONT ROW - September 13, 2010 @ 2pm EST

Spring 2010 - Donna Karan's Collection

Milla Jovovich expounds on when the universality of Donna Karan's dresses. Makeup designer Pat McGrath describes the futuristic use of white eyeliner. Models walk the catwalk in this Spring 2010 showing of Donna Karan's urban / organic collection.

Donna Ivy Faske

married Mark Karan in the 1970s and became Donna Karan.

Donna Karan speaks at Parsons - February 2010

Donna Karan actually dropped out of Parsons to take a job at Anne Klein. Later on, she realized the importance of going to school. She talks at depth about 7 Easy Pieces, the launch of DKNY, and how fashion reflects how we feel on the inside.

Parsons launched its new Design Graduate Programs with this talk with alumna Donna Karan, whose support initiated the MFA in Fashion Design and Society. The conversation was moderated by Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

DK Biography

1948 to the present

  • October 2, 1948 - Donna Ivy Faske was born in Forest Hills, NY
  • 1971 - Ms. Karan was promoted to Associated Designer for Anne Klein
  • 1974 - Karan (along with Louis Dell'Ollio) became head designer for Anne Klein.
  • 1983 - Donna Karan and Stephan Weiss are married.
  • 1984 - Donna Karan left Anne Klein to form her own company and "to design modern clothes for modern people."
  • 1985 - The first Donna Karan line of women's clothing was shown.
  • 1988 - Ms. Karan launched a less expensive clothing line geared to younger women, DKNY.
  • 1990 - DKNY Jeans is launched.
  • 1990 - Donna Karan presented her Signature Line for men.
  • 1992 - DKNY for men was launched.
  • 1996 - Donna Karan's company went public and became Donna Karan Inc.
  • 1997 - Karan resigned from her position as CEO, but stayed in the role of Chairwoman and Designer In Charge.
  • 2001 - Donna Karan's husband, Stephan Weiss, passed away after a long struggle with lung cancer.

Anne Klein

Donna Karan was head of the Anne Klein Design team until 1989.

Peruse books either about Donna Karan or by her. These books are available for sale on Amazon.com.

Donna Karan Spring Collections in the New Millennium

Click on the appropriate icon below to view the Donna Karan Spring or Spring / Summer collections for every year of the new millennium

Spring 2009 - "Liquid Assets" features lots of draping and gold, exquisite fabrics.

Spring 2008 - This collection features the shirt-waist and is focused on sportswear, taking you from day to evening. The look is almost a 1950's ladies' Safari.

Spring 2007 - Strong notes of Africa and the Middle East are apparent in this comfortable yet strong collection.

Spring 2006 - (missing)

Spring 2005 - (missing)

Spring 2004 - Beiges, rusts and earthy tones predominate this show. Lots of bared, draping chests and a few men on the catwalk.

Spring 2003 - A highly black and white show, with more tailored designs than usual.

Donna Karan Fashions

The Donna Karan line is designed by Peter Speliopoulos.

Donna Karan Fall Collections in the New Millennium - On The Catwalk

Click on the appropriate icon below to view the Donna Karan Fall / Winter collections for every year of the new millennium

Fall 2009 - Jewel tones, gauntlets, skins, fur, studs. This is a powerful collection and a self-proclaimed retrospective.

Fall 2008 - Un unconventional color scheme was inspired by stained glass and falling leaves. The look is 1920s Art Deco, but without the depression, rather a European sense of fun reminiscent of flappers.

Fall 2007 - The fall show features much headware and even includes a few pant suits for evening.

Fall 2006 - (missing)

Fall 2005 - (missing)

Fall 2004 - Beiges, rusts and earthy tones predominate this show. Lots of bared, draping chests and a few men on the catwalk.

Fall 2003 - A highly black and white show, with more tailored designs than usual.

A few names and faces make repeat appearances in Donna Karan's shows. The face and hair of the models complements the overall design: These people are integral to Donna Karan's fashion shows.

Donna Karan's System of Dressing

Shop for second-hand Donna Karan clothing online - You can probably find some on eBay

The Donna Karan line of clothing in particular is expensive and you would be well-put to shopping for "lightly worn" second-hand Donna Karan clothing in the online auction site, eBay.com.

Donna Karan's Celebrity Clients - Barbra Streisand's Wedding Dress and More

In this brief Barbara Walters clip, Donna Karan describes working on her "sister" Barbra Streisand's wedding dress. Other stars are shown, wearing Donna Karan creations: Demi Moore, Jennifer Anniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore, Uma Thurman.. Donna Karan dresses Hollywood's best.

Tracy Ullman as Donna Karan - Redesigning the robes for the US Supreme Court Justices

I can't think of many fashion designers that have had comic sketches devoted to them. Donna Karan HAS been portrayed by Tracy Ullman though, and is the only fashion designer I can personally think of to have this treatment given to them. Its not a bad portrayal by the way. Ullman has the voice down.

Celebrities Seen Wearing Donna Karan - Info (and photos!) taken from www.donnakaran.com

Here's a listing of celebrities seen wearing Donna Karan fashions. If you want to see the latest listings (complete with photographs of the Donna Karan article being sported), you can visit the Celebrity Press Page at donnakaran.com.

  • Debra Messing
  • Nicole Ritchie
  • Julianne Moore
  • Chloe Sevigny
  • Brooke Shields
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Milla Jovovich
  • Mary J. Blige
  • Hillary Duff
  • Kristin Davis
  • Beyonce Knowles
  • Carice Van Houton

Donna Karan and the stars - Endorsed by Gary Oldman and Pete Wentz.

There are a variety of online stores selling DKNY, DKNY Jeans, DKNY Intimates, DKNYC and Donna Karan products. When you're shopping online for these products, be sure to check out a variety of sources and get the best deal with coupon or promo codes as well as free shipping promos and sales.

The DKNY Brand

This less-expensive line, geared towards younger women, was launched in 1998. The DKNY collection expanded in the year 2000 with the addition of DKNY Jeans. In 1992, the world of DKNY grew yet again with the launch of DKNY for men.

This iconic DKNY Billboard (the genius of design guru Peter Arnell) graced Manhattan for nearly two decades and became a part of the landscape. Check out this ode to it in a blog post from PR Mama by Stephanie Smirnov: What I learned from the Arnell Design Brief.

"He is among many other things the man who gave us the iconic DKNY billboard that graced the Soho landscape for nearly two decades. I was an assistant in Donna Karan’s office at that time (now there’s fodder for blog posts) and truly loved my work. I was 24 with my first Big City Job, working in the epicenter of this crazy company just beginning to explode with growth, serving a woman who can credibly be called one of the design geniuses of our time — and this billboard made me burst with pride every time I saw it.

It never felt like advertising. It was like Donna and Peter’s love letter to the city."

Hollister Mural plans for 600 Broadway NYC
Hollister Mural plans for 600 Broadway NYC

The DKNY Wall Mural Came Down

A Soho icon painted over at 600 Broadway.

In June 3, 2009, NY1 reported how Donna Karan's famous Soho mural to be painted over.

As clothing store Hollister took over the space, the iconic DKNY mural showing several city landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and Twin Towers, was painted over. The DKNY mural had been up since the late 1980s. Although the SoHo Alliance wanted to keep the DKNY sign, it didn't pursue the matter, stating

"We have to pick our battles and I think this was not the battle the community group wanted to pick with the landlord," - SoHo Alliance Director Sean Sweeney. "There are more pressing landmark issues that have to be fought than this one."

The DKNY mural had previously replaced a tobacco advertisement in place at the location since 1906.

February 4, 2009 had Racked publish plans for the new Hollister mural to take the place of the DNY mural at 600 Broadway.

DKNY

The DKNY line is entirely designed now by Jane Chung.

DKNY - Spring 2010 and 2009

In these images of the DKNY catwalk from the spring 2010 and 2009 collections, you can see a difference from the Donna Karan line. Most significantly in the footwear, the jewelry, the lengths of the skirts and the music, the appeal is to a much younger generation.

Purchase DKNY Items Online at Amazon.com - Accessories, Shoes, Intimates and More.

Amazon.com carries the DKNY line for purchase online. Here is a small selection of some DKNY items they carry.

Adverts for DKNY Fragrances

Donna Karan DKNY Fragrances For Women on Amazon.com - Smell delicious.

DKNY Fragrances For Men Available At Amazon.com - Shop online for these mens DKNY colognes

Donna Karan's Charitable Branch, "Urban Zen" - Philanthropy and commerce join together

Donna Karan has been a huge proponent for yoga since she was 16 years old. She also follows a "raw food" diet. Watch this interview on Wallet Pop to see all the ways that Ms. Karan is putting her charitable concerns to work at "Urban Zen."

Donna Karan's Charitable Works

For The Good of Everyone

Urban Zen Initiative is an organization striving to empower children, preserve culture, and promote integretive healing through nutrition, yoga and eastern healing practices. This venture was launched by Britain's Sonja Nuttall and Donna Karan in 2006.

Donna Karan was also awarded an honorary nursing degree in 2009 by the Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing. This honor stemmed from her significant contributions to the pilot program at the Beth Israel Medical Center, as well as her launch of the Integrative Therapist Training Program through the Urban Zen Initiative.

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Donna Karan continues to be a driving force in women's fashion. Do you own any Donna Karan pieces? Have you got your eye on some? Where do you go to purchase Donna Karan or DKNY? Enter your comments below to leave your message right here on this page.

Contact Laura Schofield

*If you would like to suggest any links or have your own photos and / or stories published, please send me an email. I can be contacted through my personal homepage, laura-schofield.com. If you enjoy the work I've done here, I do offer professional copy writing, photo restoration / manipulation, search engine optimization and web design services. I can again be contacted for any of these services through my website.

Did you learn something about Donna Karan - Is DKNY more than an acronym in your mind now?

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      Sara 2 years ago

      An unputdownable trnmeaett is couturier observe. I consider that you should write statesman on this issue, it strength not be a bias refer but mostly grouping are not sufficiency to verbalise on such topics. To the next. Cheers like your 301 Moved Permanently.

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 6 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Love Donna Karan fashions. Blessed by a Squid Angel***

    • Classic LM profile image

      Classic LM 6 years ago

      A superb lens, thank you! :o)

    • beta5909 profile image

      beta5909 7 years ago

      Yes...I learned that Urban Zen needs to be in every city. Donna has nailed the problems: more joint cooperation between philanthropic efforts and business. Thank you. Loved this lens.

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 7 years ago

      I love Donna Karan styles. Exceptional lens and I especially like the "Karan System" info. Blessed by an Angel.

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      Bravehistickle 7 years ago

      Yeah , good impressive lens! This will help me a lot since I have to now and then write about fashion accessories etc :)