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 Donna Karan began her career as an assistant designer with Anne Klein in the late 1960s. When Anne Klein  died in 1974, Karan, together with her former classmate and friend Louis Dell’Ollio, became head designers of the house.

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In 1984, Karan left Anne Klein and, together with her then husband Stephan Weiss and Takihyo Corporation, started her own business “to design modern clothes for modern people”. She showed her first women’s clothing collection in 1985.

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Based on a foundation of “Seven Easy Pieces,” Karan’s first collection included practical mix-and-match separates that accentuated a woman’s curves. Her name became synonymous with the New York look and created a trend-setting, all-black palette for ready-to-wear. She’s also credited with popularizing the bodysuit.

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Donna Karan (born October 2, 1948), also known under the aliases “DK” and “Donkey Kong”, is an American fashion designer and the creator of the Donna Karan New York and DKNY clothing labels.

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Karan a graduate of Parson school  of design worked  for Anne Klein, eventually becoming head of the Anne Klein design-team, where she remained until 1985, when she launched her  Donna Karan label.

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In 1988, Karan, nicknamed The Queen Of Seventh Avenue, extended her women’s ‘Donna Karan New York’ line by creating a less expensive clothing line for younger women, called DKNY. Two years later, she created DKNY Jeans, a denim-inspired collection. DKNY for men was launched in 1992, one year after the ‘Signature’ line for men had been presented

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Karan left her CEO position in 1997, but continued as chairwoman and designer for the Donna Karan line. After 2002 Karan’s designer contributions became less and less  in August 2008, Karan relaunched her discontinued fragrance lines from the 1990s

 

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Karan began her career as an assistant designer with Anne Klein in the late 1960s, where she was eventually promoted to associate designer in 1971. As Klein’s assistant, Karan was a participant in The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show on November 28, 1973

DKNY and Hearts 4 Haiti charity event, London, Britain - 14 Nov 2012.When Anne Klein herself died in 1974, Takihyo Corporation of Japan became the new owner and Karan, together with her former classmate and friend Louis Dell’Ollio, became head designer of the house.

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In 1984, Karan left Anne Klein and, together with her then husband Stephan Weiss and Takihyo Corporation, started her own business “to design modern clothes for modern people”. She showed her first women’s clothing collection in 1985.

 

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Karan became well known for her ‘Essentials’ line, initially offering seven easy pieces which could all be mixed and matched, and created a fully integrated wardrobe. Karan always insisted that she would only design clothes, like jersey dresses and opaque Lycra tights, that she would also wear herself.

Donna Karan Resort 2014
Donna Karan Resort 2014

 

In 2008, the animal rights group PETA initiated a campaign against Karan for her company’s use of fur in products and her contracted fur farmers’ alleged inhumane treatment of animals

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Karan’s philanthropic work includes the Urban Zen initiative, which she founded with designer Sonja Nuttall. In March 2008, Karan sold personal belongings and vintage company samples to benefit the cause. In October, a foundation run by Karan donated $850,000 to New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center.

 

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