Donna Karaen was born in Forest Hills, New York on October 4, 1948. The daughter of a fashion model, Karan was steeped in the industry since childbirth. She attended the Parsons School of Design for two years before leaving the school to work for Anne Klein. She was fired nine months later.
In 1968 she returned to work for Klein, and eventually made her way to become an associate designer in 1971. In the 1980's Klein fell ill and Karan was made head designer along with Louis Dell'Olio. In 1984, Karan was given her own firm by Takihyo Corporation of Japan.
Under her own label Karan quickly established herself as a rising star. Her first collection under her own label was limited in size and was based on a bodysuit over which one could wear skirts, blouses or pants creating a fully integrated wardrobe. Karan combined this base with a collection of well tailored coats and bold accessories. Never overtly sexual in design, her clothes however contain a hint of sensuality wrapped in a veil of simplicity. Karan set out to design clothes that she herself would wear, simple clothes for the busy businesswoman who doesn't have a whole lot of time to shop, or fret about what to wear.
The design philosiphy of Donna Karan has led to her remarkable sucess, her company produces several lines of clothing each season including DKNY, DKNYJeans, DKNY Eyewear, DKMen and The Donna Karan Collection.