Donna Karan blasts fashion industry for becoming too boring

Donna Karan wants to see more diversity on the fashion runways.The New York-based designer has opened up about her views on the ever-changing industry and recalled a much simpler time back in the 1970s when each nation had its own unique style on the c…

Donna Karan wants to see more diversity on the fashion runways.

The New York-based designer has opened up about her views on the ever-changing industry and recalled a much simpler time back in the 1970s when each nation had its own unique style on the catwalk.

“Everybody was individualised. You had the American world, the British world, the French world, the Italian world,” she said in an interview for Footwear News. “And it was… the Americans were black. The British were (punk), France was colour and Italy was neutral.

“Now, everything’s alike. You can’t tell the difference,” Karan sighed, adding that everybody is dressing the same nowadays, which makes it difficult for her to design on-trend clothes.

“I like to feel the differentiation between our cultures. And that’s where I’m at, which is a little bit different than most designers.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Karan, who has recently launched an exclusive shoe collection with Kenneth Cole in collaboration with artisans in Haiti, complained about the rise of social media and how it’s ruining fashion by showing collections from designers before they are even ready to be released.

“I believe we’re giving too much information out. And now, because of communication, everybody sees everything. You know, and the customers see it six months before, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever,” the 71-year-old insisted. “In the fashion industry, the consumer is confused. She’s seeing too much – early. And then it finally comes in, it’s boring because she wants buy now, wear now.”

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Donna Karan never wanted to be a designer

Donna Karan never wanted to be a designer.During a talk at The Festival of New at The New School, the 71-year-old opened up about her early years in fashion, and confessed to Allure’s editor-in-chief Michelle Lee that she originally wanted to be a danc…

Donna Karan never wanted to be a designer.

During a talk at The Festival of New at The New School, the 71-year-old opened up about her early years in fashion, and confessed to Allure’s editor-in-chief Michelle Lee that she originally wanted to be a dancer.

“I hated fashion. My mother was in fashion, my father was in fashion. My father was a custom tailor. I wanted to sing like Barbra Streisand and I wanted to dance like Martha Graham,” Karan confessed, according to WWD.

“We can make all the plans in the world, but you’re being guided. From failing Parsons (School of Design) and not wanting to be a designer, still at the age of 71, I question what it’s all about… Just go live it, be it, do what you can. Something up there really does guide us. The last person I wanted to be was a designer.”

Karan began her career as an assistant designer at Anne Klein and later became head of the design team, and was working on a collection for the brand in 1974, just days after giving birth to her first daughter Gabby, when Klein passed away at the age of 50 after a battle with cancer. She remained with the company until 1985, when she launched her eponymous first collection, Donna Karan New York.

During the chat, she explained that she set up her own label because she wanted to make clothes for herself and her friends.

“All I wanted to do was a bodysuit, a pair of leggings, a wrap skirt. I did not want to do a collection. I just wanted to do my clothes for me,” Karan insisted.

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Brandon Maxwell feels ‘unworthy’ after landing top fashion award

Brandon Maxwell has confessed he feels “unworthy” after landing a top fashion award.The 34-year-old is one of several American designers – including Rick Owens, Donna Karan, and Ralph Rucci – to be celebrated at Fashion Group International’s Night of S…

Brandon Maxwell has confessed he feels “unworthy” after landing a top fashion award.

The 34-year-old is one of several American designers – including Rick Owens, Donna Karan, and Ralph Rucci – to be celebrated at Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars in October. Following the announcement, Maxwell took to Instagram to share his disbelief at being honoured with the Fashion Star award, and candidly opened up about suffering from anxiety ahead of the star-studded gala. 

“Wow! I’m so honoured to be included, especially amongst such a revered group of designers I deeply respect,” he wrote. “I certainly feel unworthy and will most likely want to hide under the table when this night comes, but The Fashion Group International and it’s local chapters have always been incredibly supportive of me and my team from day one, and I’m truly thrilled, grateful, and appreciative that they thought of us.”

Maxwell touched on the journey he and his team have been on since winning the Fashion Group International Rising Star award back in 2016. 

“In the three years since life that day, I’ve experienced as many terrifying moments as I have beautiful ones, and it’s moments like these that leave me with nothing but a deep sense of gratitude for every little mountain we’ve had to climb and an eternal respect and admiration for all the people along the way who have helped us to stay on the path,” the designer gushed. 

Other winners include fashion icon Owens, who will be bestowed with the night’s highest honour, the Superstar award, while Rucci has landed the Fashion Legend gong, which he said was “one of the biggest honours of my life”.

DKNY founder Karan is to be feted for her charity work in Haiti with the Humanitarian Award, and the Trailblazer Award will be given to supermodel Iman.

The Night of Stars will be held in New York on 24 October.

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Donna Karan and Kenneth Cole team up with local artisans in Haiti for sandal collection

Donna Karan and Kenneth Cole have teamed up with a group of local artisans in Haiti for a new sandal collection.The DKNY founder and clothing designer have both been working on healthcare and education initiatives in the Caribbean country since it was …

Donna Karan and Kenneth Cole have teamed up with a group of local artisans in Haiti for a new sandal collection.

The DKNY founder and clothing designer have both been working on healthcare and education initiatives in the Caribbean country since it was devastated by an earthquake in 2010.

The 70-year-old designer is currently producing leather footwear in the troubled country through her luxury lifestyle brand, Urban Zen, but was prompted to discuss a potential partnership with Cole after purchasing a pair of his sustainable Gentle Souls sandals.

“Everyone was constantly asking where I got my sandals,” Karan told Vogue.com. “They are seriously the most comfortable shoes in the entire world – they are beyond comfortable. I can’t even explain it!”

The 65-year-old designer and his team had been working with a group of artisans making shoes out of local materials, but he confessed they were “a little stiff and uncomfortable”, so he and Karan connected with Pascale Theard, a highly-skilled workshop owner.

The 10 designs combine Cole’s comfortable, foam soles with traditional Haitian leather-working, and the collection features gladiator sandals with cushioned soles, fringed and embroidered leather uppers, and braided straps that wrap around the ankle.

“You know when you try on a shoe and go, ‘Oh, my gosh!’ It’s that kind of feeling when you put these on,” Karan gushed. “(I want) things that go from day to night, with an artisanal hand, with a story, with a meaning, with a soul.”

“Hopefully it becomes an ongoing sustainable business,” Cole shared. “If nothing else, it shines a light on a culture that deserves to be celebrated.”

The shoes are available to buy online, with prices starting at $325 (£260).

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Tom Ford to be inducted into Fragrance Foundation Hall of Fame

Tom Ford is to be inducted into the Fragrance Foundation’s Hall of Fame this June (19).The designer, who was recently named the new Chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), will be honoured at the organisation’s annual awards, ta…

Tom Ford is to be inducted into the Fragrance Foundation’s Hall of Fame this June (19).

The designer, who was recently named the new Chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), will be honoured at the organisation’s annual awards, taking place in New York on 5 June. In taking his place in the Hall of Fame, Ford will be following in the footsteps of fashion veterans such as Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Carolina Herrera.

Of the honour, Ford said in a statement: “Scent, in its many iterations, is something that I have always had a strong passion for, and to be recognised for my work in this industry by the prestigious Fragrance Foundation, is a true honour.”

Of course, Ford is no stranger to the Fragrance Foundation, and has taken home the Women’s Luxury and Men’s Luxury Fragrance of the Year prizes at the Fragrance Foundation Awards every year since 2015.

Ford launched his fragrance line in 2007 with Black Orchid, and now has more than 40 scents under his belt. He works with the best in the business to come up with his always popular perfumes, and explained to Vogue Arabia magazine previously: “I feel honoured to work with them. I take every opportunity to learn what I can in terms of quality of ingredients, or inspiration to make people dream.”

According to reports, Ford’s beauty empire is on track to become a $2 billion business by 2021.

The Fragrance Foundation Awards will also see Flavors & Fragrances Inc.’s master perfumer Dominique Ropion receive the Lifetime Achievement, Perfumer award at the June ceremony.

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Paul Andrew placing namesake footwear brand on hold

Paul Andrew is pushing pause on his namesake brand so he can focus on Salvatore Ferragamo.The British designer worked in the footwear and accessories departments of the likes of Narciso Rodriguez, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan before setting up his epo…

Paul Andrew is pushing pause on his namesake brand so he can focus on Salvatore Ferragamo.

The British designer worked in the footwear and accessories departments of the likes of Narciso Rodriguez, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan before setting up his eponymous line in 2012, with fans of his shoes including Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone, and Kerry Washington.

But as Andrew was named as Ferragamo’s first-ever women’s footwear design director in September 2016 and promoted to creative director of the Italian house last month, the fashion star has now confirmed that he has decided to put a hold on his own range.

“It wasn’t the easiest decision by any means,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “It wasn’t as if business was bad, and I have worked very hard to build the Paul Andrew brand into what it is today. But I’ve been offered such a big opportunity from Ferragamo, and I want it to be a success. There is a lot of work to do that will need my one focus and energy, not to mention a lot of time in Italy. This felt like the right call.”

Andrew went on to explain that his spring 2019 collection will be the last stocked in boutiques and online, though he plans to keep the company open in some form and will continue to design custom footwear for his long-running clients.

And while shuttering his label wasn’t an easy call, he emphasised that there simply wasn’t enough time in the day for him to run two businesses.

“I do feel sad, but I also know it is what I need to do, given that the double workload was already a stretch, both emotionally and physically, when I was only working on Ferragamo womenswear,” the designer reflected. “I am proud of all I have achieved under my own name. Now my mind is made up.”

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Bottega Veneta’s Daniel Lee has enjoyed experimenting with menswear

Bottega Veneta’s new creative director Daniel Lee has enjoyed the challenge of creating clothes for men.The British designer succeeded Tomas Maier two days after he departed from the Italian luxury label in June (18), following a 17-year stint. Lee now…

Bottega Veneta’s new creative director Daniel Lee has enjoyed the challenge of creating clothes for men.

The British designer succeeded Tomas Maier two days after he departed from the Italian luxury label in June (18), following a 17-year stint.

Lee now oversees all creative direction at Bottega Veneta, including the manufacture of ready-to-wear garments, shoes, jewellery, eyewear, and accessories. And though he had previously only designed for women, he has embraced the new perspective of menswear.

“It’s great to make things you want to wear,” he told reporters at Vogue U.S. “This is my first experience of doing that, because I’ve always worked in womenswear, and I think you definitely see it from a different perspective if you’re able to try things on and experience the clothes. It adds a different facet, for sure.”

The fashion star has previously held the position as director of ready-to-wear design at Celine, in addition to a string of posts at Maison Margiela, Balenciaga, and Donna Karan.

While he was not immersed in the fashion world as a child, he has now come to grips with all aspects of the industry.

“I didn’t really know that much about fashion. There is no fashion where I’m from,” said Lee, who was born in the north of England. “What I like about this job is there are many different facets to it-part of it is creation, but it’s also business. It’s also often dealing in a foreign language; you meet people from all around the world, so there’s the travel aspect. There are so many great parts of this job; it’s not purely about designing.”

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Iman refuses to let her daughter enter modelling business

Iman won’t allow her 18-year-old daughter to enter the modelling industry.The Somali-American supermodel first appeared in U.S. Vogue in 1976 and soon became a muse for many designers, including Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan. While Im…

Iman won’t allow her 18-year-old daughter to enter the modelling industry.

The Somali-American supermodel first appeared in U.S. Vogue in 1976 and soon became a muse for many designers, including Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan.

While Iman has enjoyed a long career in the fashion world, she has now confessed that she doesn’t want Alexandria ‘Lexi’ Jones, her daughter with her late husband David Bowie, to follow in her footsteps.

“Every agency, every designer, called me to say: ‘If she wants to, we’d love for her to model for us,'” she recalled to Porter magazine of the time she uploaded photos of Lexi to her Instagram page to mark her birthday in August (18). “I said: ‘No, she doesn’t.’ I know why they wanted to her to model – it’s because she is David Bowie’s daughter.”

Iman went on to share that Lexi is currently taking a gap year. She also admitted that her daughter thinks she is “overprotective” when it comes to keeping their lives out of the spotlight.

“She says I am overprotective,” the 63-year-old sighed. “But I told her, this can all wait, it isn’t going anywhere. Have a life that is private while you can, because one day soon it is going to be public, so enjoy this.”

During the chat, Iman spoke about her successful Iman Cosmetics company too. She launched the brand in 1994 after years of struggling to find the right foundation shades for her skin tone, with her trailblazing products leading the way for other cosmetics giants, like M.A.C and Fenty Beauty.

“Now, every brand has 40 shades of foundation, but Iman Cosmetics was one of the first that changed the way we think about make-up,” she smiled. “That will be my legacy, and I am very happy to be remembered that way.”

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Alexander Wang CEO exits the company

Lisa Gersh, the CEO of Alexander Wang, has left the company.Prior to her role at the fashion house, Gersh worked for businesses including Goop and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia before joining Alexander Wang in 2017. Up until her appointment, Wang him…

Lisa Gersh, the CEO of Alexander Wang, has left the company.

Prior to her role at the fashion house, Gersh worked for businesses including Goop and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia before joining Alexander Wang in 2017.

Up until her appointment, Wang himself acted as dual chief executive and designer following on from his time as creative director at Balenciaga, and he will now be assuming Gersh’s duties until a permanent replacement is selected.

“I’m grateful to Alexander Wang for the opportunity to work together and I wish the team continued growth and success,” Gersh said in a statement to Business of Fashion.

The Oxygen Media co-founder was brought in as the New York-based label started to make important changes to its business model, in the hope that these alterations would drive more direct-to-consumer sales.

Wang now intends to complete the rebranding process, and also plans on launching a new e-commerce experience, as well as adding new product categories and markets.

“Innovation and creativity remain core to the Alexander Wang brand,” the fashion mogul explained. “Looking ahead, we will continue to push boundaries and challenge the status quo.”

As Gersh exited the brand, Wang welcomed Stripes Group operating partner Brigitte Kleine to its board, who has formerly worked at Donna Karan, Michael Kors and Tory Burch, the latter of which experienced an increase in sales to over $1 billion in 2016 while Kleine was president.

Alexander Wang presented its spring 2019 ready-wear-collection in June (18), having decided to ditch this year’s New York Fashion Week. The brand’s next show is scheduled for December.

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Donna Karan started DKNY to stop daughter stealing her clothes

Donna Karan decided to launch DKNY in a bid to stop her daughter from stealing her clothes.The designer founded the brand in 1989 as a younger, more affordable diffusion line to run alongside her existing Donna Karan New York business. Karan went on to…

Donna Karan decided to launch DKNY in a bid to stop her daughter from stealing her clothes.

The designer founded the brand in 1989 as a younger, more affordable diffusion line to run alongside her existing Donna Karan New York business.

Karan went on to introduce other labels such as DKNY Jeans and DKNY Men, with stars including Cara Delevingne and Emily Ratajkowski fronting various campaigns.

And in a new interview with Town & Country magazine, the fashion mogul explained how her whole business plan was inspired by her daughter Gabby Karan De Felice.

“When my daughter started stealing my clothes, I started DKNY so she could have the clothes she needed too,” she recalled, adding that her fashion house also ensured she could always wear the outfits she wanted most.

“Designing clothes is kind of selfish really,” the 70-year-old laughed. “I make clothes for real women because I am a real woman and I designed everything I needed.”

Karan has since taken a step away from the fashion world to focus on other projects, such as Urban Zen, a foundation she created to raise awareness and inspire change in culture, wellbeing and education.

She’s also hosting the Apple Awards, created in memory of her late husband Stephan Weiss, which this year will honour figures including supermodel Iman.

Though she may not be working so much with fabrics at the moment, Karan is adamant that there was always more to fashion than the design process.

“Let’s put it this way: Everything is about dressing and addressing. Fashion for me was always about life,” the icon insisted. “I was always in the dressing room, hearing stories. It was never just about the clothes.”

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