In a move that has surprised the fashion world, Donna Karan has announced she is leaving Donna Karan international as chief designer to focus on her Urban Zen range, which centres on wellness and artisan goods and her charitable foundation. According to the New York Times Karan said “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.”
Donna Karan designs have graced the catwalks and dressed powerful women since the 1980s and her name synonymous with New York fashion. The rise of high street and contemporary brands led her to establish DKNY in the 1990s, a less expensive line that still catered to the idea of power dressing, while DKNY Jeans followed two years later as a casual version of the range.
Moet Hennessy Louis Vitton (MHLV) acquired the fashion house in 2001 and there has been rumblings in the last year that all was not well between the conglomerate and designer. In the announcement MHLV said that they would not immediately replace Karan and that the central Donna Karan line would be suspending temporarily while the company reorganised. Rumours are swirling that the Donna Karan label will merge with the DKNY, though when this will happen is unclear.
Regardless, we will miss Ms. Karan’s slick cuts and feminine designs at New York Fashion Week and on the red carpets.