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Donna Karan Steps Down After 31 Years

Donna Karan, founder and chief designer of Donna Karan International announced that she is stepping down from her role after 31 years leading the company.

The 66-year-old icon will remain an advisor to the global business but will spend more time working on her Urban Zen line, which she created to raise awareness about health care after her husband, Stephan Weiss, died of lung cancer in 2001.

LVMH and I have made this decision after much soul-searching. 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,” The Times reported Karan as saying.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the parent company of Donna Karan, said there are no immediate plans to replace her and that the main Donna Karan collection would be postponed and there will not be a show at New York Fashion Week in September. However, the company will reorganize its team to devote its focus on the DKNY brand, which already accounts for 80 percent of Donna Karan International’s revenue.

The announcement comes three months after LVMH named Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow the creative directors at DKNY. In May, Patti Cohen, Karan’s long-time right hand, retired from the company.

Karan began her career interning at Anne Klein and went on to spend three years as an associate designer until she became the head designer after Klein’s death. In 1984, she started the Donna Karan New York Company with her husband, and business partner Takiyho Inc. Her first collection, the Seven Easy Pieces Collection, designed to easily transition from day to night, debuted just a year later and became one of Karan’s most iconic endeavors as it changed the way working women dressed.