1. She invented the body suit
The body is synonymous with the 80s and we have Donna Karan to thank for it. She had the idea because she is a yoga enthusiast (she’s been doing it since she was 18), and she certainly practices what she preaches: “My bodysuit is how I start every day. I wear a bodysuit every day of my life.”
2. Fashion runs through her veins
Her mother was a model and both her father and stepfather were tailors, so it’s no wonder she chose (and excels at) the profession she did. She’s also BFFs with Calvin Klein (below).
3. Her Seven Easy Pieces helped us get dressed for work
When she launched her label in 1984, she wanted to simply design clothes that she and her friends wanted to wear. The principle was that with her Seven Easy Pieces, you’d be sartorially equipped for any situation as each item could be interchanged and worn together. She was one of the first to recognise that modern women needed something to wear to work.
4. She doesn’t have a massive ego
She preferred the name Donna Karan New York for her label because it made it less about her, and more about the city and therefore, more accessible for the women who would be buying the clothes. Smart move; nice lady.
5. She’s really spiritual
As well as the yoga, Donna Karan founded the Urban Zen Foundation, which sells products from artisans around the world and also offers programs that combine western medicine with yoga and eastern healing practices. She was inspired to do this when her second husband, Stephan, fell ill with cancer.
6. Size is not A Thing
As someone who has spoken out on the subject of having hang-ups about her own hips and thighs, Karan has always designed with everywoman in mind. Her ‘cold shoulder’ dress – once worn by Hillary Clinton – shows off the shoulders because according the Karan, they’re the one area that most women are happy to bare.
7. DKNY lives on
Although it’s unclear what will happen to the Donna Karan brand (but it looks like it will cease to exist as they’re not looking to replace Karan or show at New York Fashion Week), her diffusion line DKNY will survive, as it’s not designed by her. DKNY was founded in 1988 when she saw a gap in the market for a more affordable, younger line (she was fed up with her daughters wearing her clothes). She once described the Donna Karan woman as being in a car, whereas the DKNY woman was on the subway or a bus.
Donna, we will miss you!