Donna Karan

The fashion industry is in shock after the so-called Queen Of Seventh Avenue, Donna Karan, revealed she is resigning as the head of her brand. 

The 66-year-old designer and founder of Donna Karan is stepping down from the main line to focus her attention on Urban Zen, a line which centres on wellness and artisanal goods as well as a foundation (a charity that offers health care, education and preservation). She will also remain as a adviser to Donna Karan International.

According to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French conglomerate that bought the house in 2001, there are no immediate plans to replace the designer, who launched her first eponymous collection in 1985 – she co-founded Donna Karan International (DKI) in 1984 with her late husband Stephan Weiss and Takiyho Inc. For now the collection will be suspended and will not be showcasing at New York Fashion Week this September.

Karan said in a statement: “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.”

Pierre-Yves Roussel, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Fashion Group, added: “Since 2001, LVMH and Donna Karan have partnered to develop Donna Karan International into a global business. It has been a privilege for all involved to collaborate with Donna and we are very pleased she has agreed to remain an adviser. We are committed to fully realizing the potential of the company while staying true to the spirit and value Donna has championed for more than 30 years.”

Donna Karan began her career in the late 1960s working as an assistant designer to the famous Anne Klein. When Anne passed away in 1974, Takihyo Corporation of Japan became the new owner, and Karan, along with a former classmate and friend Louis Dell’Ollio, became head designers of the house.

In 1984, Karan left Anne Klein to start her own business – “to design modern clothes for modern people” – with her then husband Stephan Weiss and Takihyo Corporation. Her first line was released in 1985. 

She fast became famous for revolutionising women’s wardrobes particularly through her Essentials line – seven key pieces to revamp any look.  In 1988 she launched Donna Karan New York that allowed those without major budgets to purchase her designs. Two years, her DKNY Jeans denim line earned her fashion royalty status.

Going out with a bang Donna Karan’s autumn/winter 2015 collection was our favourite to date. Check it out yourself.