Donna Karan: I wanted a label with Calvin Klein
Donna Karan views Calvin Klein as her "BFF" - with the pair so close she's previously tried to convince him to set up a label with her.
The designers have known each other for years as they rose through the fashion ranks around the same time. Donna started out working for Anne Klein, eventually as the head designer, while Calvin's eponymous label is renowned around the world. Things could have been very different though, as Donna once came up with a novel way for the pair to team up.
"In the beginning, I said to Calvin, when he was at Calvin Klein and I was at Anne Klein, 'What a great idea that we make one Klein. Why do we need two Kleins? We can have The Kleins. And you can do fall, or whatever the case may be. And we only have to work six months out of the year! This is perfect!'" she explained to Elle editor-in-chief Robbie Myers during a Master Class talk in New York this week (beg12Oct15). "He said, 'I love what I do. I'd never ever, ever leave it.' So, that's always a joke between the two of us. It's wonderful to share the intimacies of understanding what we both go through and have gone through as designers. So I would call him a BFF."
Donna stepped down as chief designer at her label at the end of June (15), and she said she is now on a "spiritual journey" where she wants to find some stillness in her life. That doesn't mean she is bored of fashion though, as it remains something she believes is of vital importance. In part that's because it can be used to make women feel good about themselves, which is why she's always had an exact way of creating pieces.
"Women don’t really understand what they should conceal and what they should reveal," she said. "I always start with accenting the positive because I want women to use fashion to feel stronger. You’re never going to gain weight on your shoulder, so I like to start there."
The designer does have some worries about her industry though, not least that a great swathe of women tend to be forgotten by many of her peers. "What's going on right now?" she queried, when talking about the prevalence of girls, rather than women, on the runway. "Because I really don't understand. I think a lot of our clothes are geared towards a much younger generation or at least being designed. I don't know, maybe because there are younger designers? Possibly."