Karan, Donna, 1948-
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- Faske, Donna
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Donna Karan was born Donna Faske in 1948 in Queens, New York. Both of her parents were involved in the fashion business; her father Gabby sold men's clothing in his store, while her mother Helen was a showroom model and sales representative. Donna began experimenting with fashion while still in high school by working for Liz Claiborne as an intern during the summer . She later attended the Parsons School of Design in New York, and worked with Anne Klein while she attended classes. After graduating from Parsons, Donna began working full time with Klein as an associate designer from 1971 until Anne's death in 1974. Karan was then named Klein's successor and partnered with fellow designer Louis Dell'Olio to design the Anne Klein Collection. After success with that line, Karan independently created Anne Klein II, and then set out on her own to begin her own line in 1984. Her first designs were immediately praised and bought up by women around the world. Karan, known as "the queen of Seventh Avenue" , owns and is the chief executive of Donna Karan Company managing marketing, production of clothing and design. Her empire houses almost 2000 employees and brings in an annual revenue of $622.6 million. Karan's fashion presence is strong, with 10 full-price stores worldwide and the DKNY world flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York City. She is credited with being one of the chief innovators of the bridge line. Her clothes are regarded as "user-friendly and luxurious", a staple to modern women looking for comfort as well as style.
In 1988, Donna Karan introduced her cheaper DKNY line, targeting young adults. Today, Donna's empire has grown to gain international success and recognition.