Karan, Donna (1948—)

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Karan, Donna (1948—)

At the age of 26 and a week after her baby was born, Donna Karan was catapulted into recognition when she was named chief designer of Anne Klein upon Klein's death in 1974. Like Klein, Karan projected her personality and life-style into her clothes: active, versatile sportswear. She often layered body suits with easy, loose wraps. And by the 1980s, Karan had made blazers a basic for Anne Klein Company. In 1984, backers of Anne Klein set up Karan in her own business, which would later become one of the first publicly traded fashion houses. Donna Karan as a public company is something of a paradox because her designs are so idiosyncratic and personal. She designs for herself, certainly for a buxom physical type, and for a New York sensibility identified in her DKNY label. Yet her attire worn by celebrities, including Barbra Streisand, has made Karan a celebrity of the fashion world.

—Richard Martin

Further Reading:

Sischy, Ingrid. Donna Karan. New York, Universe, 1998.