Who Is Donna Karan?

By Eugene Iacovelli
October 11, 2001

Justine DiFilippo

Donna Karan is the chairwoman and chief designer of the international company that bears her name. Wife, mother, artist, and businesswoman are among the many roles for this successful clothing designer. She has made a name for herself in the male dominated clothing design world and has branched out far beyond just designing clothes. Her creative instincts and feminine intuition is what Karan credits to the founding of her company in 1984 with her husband Stephan Weiss.

Donna Karan became interested in style when she was in high school, where she created her first collection of clothing for a fashion show. In her second year at Parson’s School of Design, Karan was hired by Anne Klein. The job with Anne Klein was to last only the summer, but turned into what would be the beginning of her career in the fashion industry. She has come up with a different way to view one’s wardrobe. What Karan has offered the fashion world is a method of dressing that is new and innovative. How you ask?

Karan’s concept of style and design is based on seven easy pieces, where a few garments can be mixed and matched to create a complete wardrobe. “I’m designing for the international man and woman. A creative person that never knows where a day is going to take them,” says Karan. The Donna Karan Menswear was founded in 1991, which was not surprising to her, considering that her father was a custom tailor. Since then she has been busy at work creating and designing so much more for the fashion world.

Donna Karan has designed everything from the right bra, eyewear, hosiery, and sleepwear. The list goes on to include belts, shoes and even a new line of baby wear. Her clothing can be as professional as a suit and as laid back as a pair of jeans and a tee shirt. The Donna Karan New York logo, DKNY, can be seen all over. For the true lovers of her fashion talents there was the release of the Donna Karan Home Furnishings. The furnishings cover everything from aroma therapeutic scented candles, cashmere pillows and throws, as well as a line of bath and body products.

Donna Karan is also dedicated to many social causes, in which her company’s visibility and resources come in handy. Her soul may be in design, but her heart is definitely into helping others. She has donated her time and service to events such as, Pediatric AIDS Foundation and hosted a Super Saturday flee market and barbecue with Liz Tilberis to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. This successful businesswoman has only just begun her long-standing career with fashion and design.

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Eugene Iacovelli

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