End of An Era: Donna Karan Steps Down As Chief Designer Of Her Namesake Label

July 1, 2015  |  

Donna Karan, the iconic New York City designer that redefined the working woman’s wardrobe for decades, is stepping down as chief designer from her eponymous fashion label, The New York Times reports.

Jezebel called Karan’s resignation a “watershed event” in the U.S. fashion industry.

“…I have made this decision after much soul-searching,” Karan said in a statement, “After considering the right time to take this step for several years, I feel confident that [Donna Karan International] has a bright future and a strong team in place.”

Karan will, however, choose to remain a “close adviser” for Donna Karan International, which was acquired by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French fashion conglomerate, in 2001.

According to the NY Times, rumor has it that Karan’s resignation from her empire wasn’t exactly amicable. “Over the past year, there have been signs that the relationship between Ms. Karan and LVMH had deteriorated,” the newspaper said. Last year, Karan shut down her three-story space on Madison Avenue that operated as her brand’s flagship store for more than a decade.

The NYT also added that Karan’s April interview with WWD hinted that “all was not well with LVMH.

“It’s been frustrating to see the potential of a company [and to] not reach its potential,” Karan said. When asked what issues the company was facing, she vaguely said, ” It’s hard to say, ‘the issues.’ It was the whole strategy of the company…”

In a much more candid interview with the New York Times last June, Karan said that LVMH gave her the “cold shoulder.”

“She indicates that the company, for one, wasn’t given her the support she has needed to build a significant luxury handbag business — ‘instead they saw me as a fashion designer,’ she says — and her eponymous label has suffered as a result,” Fashionista wrote, summarizing the interview.

She plans on redirecting her focus on her non-profit organization, Urban Zen. “I have arrived at a point in my life where I need to spend more time to pursue my Urban Zen commitment to its fullest potential and follow my vision of philanthropy and commerce with a focus on health care, education and preservation of cultures,” she says

There are no immediate plans to replace Karan as a designer and the collection will not put on a show in September’s New York Fashion Week.

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