Friday, July 10, 2015

10 Favorite Quotes by Donna Karan

Photo credit: Christopher Macsurak

If you’re a follower of the fashion scene, you probably read that Donna Karan (above) stepped down as chief designer of her brand last week. LVMH, which has owned the label since 2001, has "suspended" the Donna Karan brand, according to the New York Times. Ms. Karan's other lines, DKI and DKNY, will continue to operate.

Ms. Karan held her first show in 1985. Fashion was a bit rocky in the 80s and early 90s. Whenever I look at old photos of girlfriends and female family members from back then, I inevitably cringe at the big hairdos, the big shoulders and, in general, ill-fitting clothes. In my humble opinion, it was the worst period for fashion in my lifetime.

Part of the problem with fashions in the 80s, I think, stemmed from the increasing numbers of women doing jobs that had been done by men in the past. No one seemed to know how to dress the working woman. I remember wearing boxy navy or grey pinstriped skirt-suits and sensible pumps to work. Cringe. (A girlfriend was told by her employer that she couldn’t wear sling-back pumps because they were "sandals.") Donna Karan designs were a breath of fresh air for women because they made them look and feel feminine and powerful during the day or night. (Scroll down to see Oprah's friend Gayle King in a luscious red Donna Karan gown.) Thank you, Ms. Karan!

Throughout her career, Ms. Karan has been a role model for women of our generation. I’m looking forward to see what she does next. She has been quoted as saying, “If I weren't doing what I'm doing today... I'd be traveling around the world on the back of a motorcycle.” Maybe she will.

For this post, I’m sharing my top 10 favorite quotes (so far) by the designer.


Accent your positive and delete your negative.

 Evening is a time of real experimentation. You never want to look the same way.

Design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe, the practical with the desirable. 

Age and size are only numbers. It's the attitude you bring to clothes that make the difference. 

I feel very strongly about dresses on every level - a dress feels like underpinning. 

I live for what I haven't done. 

We've come a long way. Power dressing now is designed to let the woman inside us come through. 

Design and style should work toward making you look good and feel good without a lot of effort so you can get on with the things that matter. 

Women should always take care of themselves first. It makes you more equipped to take care of others. 

You don't have that much choice in your life, which is one of the big lessons I've learned. I was going to be a designer whether I wanted to be a designer or not.