Donna Karan — who redefined power-dressing for legions of American women throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s — has stepped down from her namesake label. Women’s Wear Daily reports that the fashion designer will remain an adviser to the brand but has decided to devote more time to her charity, the Urban Zen Company and Foundation.
Karan revolutionized American sportswear in 1984, when she launched her line of “7 Easy Pieces,” a collection of mix-and-match jersey and knit items that offered women a “complete wardrobe” — and gave them a powerful, sexy and work-appropriate alternative to the pantsuit. One of her first campaign images pictured a woman being sworn into the White House — badass.
Karan was also a powerful businesswoman herself. She brought her company public in 1996 (way before Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs or Miuccua Prada) on the New York Stock Exchange, and in 2001 sold shares in DKI, plus its licensing partners, to LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton for $643 million.
WWD says the company isn’t seeking a new designer for the Donna Karan Collection — the brand’s more luxury line — and will instead focus on the mid-priced, more urban DKNY. That’s probably a good thing. The company announced earlier this year that it had hired cool kids and Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne to take the reigns at DK’s baby-sister label, and with their contemporary, no-fuss take on sportswear, they’re primed to reinvent the label for a new generation of power women.
Follow Raquel on Twitter @RaquelLaneri.