Donna Faske, who later become fashion mogul Donna Karan, was born in 1948 in Queens, New York. She grew up in Long Island with her step-father who was a practicing tailor and her mother who was a store model. Karan was fashion-obsessed from an early age. In 1968 she joined Parson’s School of Design, which she left, without a degree, to take an assistant position at Anne Klein, one of the top design firms in the country.
Her work was so impressive that, within two years, she was promoted to Associate Designer and at the age of 26 she became the head designer at Anne Klein. At that time, she launched the Essentials line, and her legendary Seven Easy Pieces every woman should have in her closet.
Until 1985 she drove the success of this fashion house to new zenith when she decided to strike out on her own, and ‘Donna Karan New York’ was founded. Her aim was to dress women in comfort, to liberate them from the confines of Eighties power suits.
The introduction of her DKNY collection in 1988 marks the beginning of a period of amazing growth of the company. She designs for ordinary women like her keeping in mind the entire picture from head-to-toe, from function to aesthetic. With Donna Karan clothing, function comes before styling.
The shoe collection came around in 1989. Donna Karan shoes are designed for modern women. The collection has both trendy forward-thinking designs as well as timeless silhouettes that are essentials to every woman’s wardrobe. Known for both quality and comfort, Donna Karan shoes are crafted from the finest material and considered by many people to be must-haves. Donna Karan shoes include styles like pumps, sandals, flats, and boots, and are loved by women worldwide.
In 1997 Donna Karan quit as CEO of the company, but continues to act as chairwoman and designer in charge of the Donna Karan line. From 2002 on, most of the collection was designed by Peter Speliopoulos, a former Cerruti designer, with Karan contributing little subtleties or even entire new creations. The DKNY line is entirely designed by Jane Chung, who has been with Donna Karan since Karan’s days with Anne Klein.
In August 2008, Donna Karan relaunched her discontinued fragrance lines from the 1990s. These include DK Fuel for Men, Signature, Chaos, and Black Cashmere. They are available exclusively in the United States at Bergdorf Goodman, Manhattan and at Harrod’s, Knightsbridge, London.
Many more consumers and critics were won over in years to come by Ms. Karan’s designs.They have noticed in her a determination and professionalism but also deep stubbornness. Donna is a true New Yorker at heart. Her success in the fashion world is evident: her labels, ‘Donna Karan’ and ‘DKNY’, are major fashion powerhouses, and she is respected as one of the world’s foremost designers.
1974: Promoted head designer at Anne Klein and launched legendary Seven Easy Pieces.
1977: Won the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award and once again in 1982.
1982: Karan created Anne Klein II, originating the concept of bridge and lifestyle dressing in fashion.
1985: Left Anne Klein and founded Donna Karan New York.
1989: Came the shoe collection from DKNY
1992: Emerged DKNY Men Collection of Cashmere suits and sports wear the following year.
2001: Karan introduced a Donna Karan New York Home collection.
2008: Relaunched her discontinued fragrance lines from the 1990s.