Born Donna Ivy Fiske, Donna Karan is one of the most influential contemporary American fashion designers, having created her groundbreaking label in 1984.
She studied at the Parsons School of Design and found a summer job as an assistant to Anne Klein. Within two years she became associate designer, soon moving up to head designer. She had to take over the reins when Anne Klein was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972.
She ventured on her own, calling her Donna Karan New York collection “seven easy pieces,” which consisted of the bodysuit, the wrap-and-tie skirt, the pants, the tailored jacket, the suede wrap jacket, the camel coat and the gold sequined shirt.
Donna Karan stepped down from her namesake label in June 2015 and the parent company, LVMH, announced the appointment of Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne as the new creative directors of DKNY.
Donna Karan continues to sell body-conscious luxury basics – formfitting leggings and bodysuits, cashmere wraps and shearlings – under her Urban Zen label. The Urban Zen Foundation is helping to bring education and integrative medicine to children worldwide.
Karan opened the D.O.T. (Design, Organization, and Training) Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in association with her alma mater, Parsons School of Design. The brand’s foundation also awards grants to schools, hospitals and other NGOs.
Donna Karan has written her memoir titled “My Journey.”
Donna Karan Spring Runway 2010