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NEW YORK — Donna Karan has made several executive changes to support her latest project: a home furnishings collection.
Sonja Caproni, who has served as president of Donna Karan Accessories since 1989, has been named president of Donna Karan Home Furnishings Development, a new post.
She is succeeded by Peter Macri, former president of DeVecchi Corp., who left the luxury handbag company in December after seven years. The moves are effective immediately.
Discussing Caproni's appointment, Karan said Thursday, "Believe me, it needs the research and development to see how we'll approach the home furnishings market, both for Donna Karan and DKNY. Sonja has always had a tremendous feeling for home furnishings."
Karan said the company is exploring licensing situations, joint ventures and developing products themselves, and hasn't set a launch date for any of the products.
"We're not negating any of the possibilities," said Karan. "Anything is open, and if you know us, we'll do it in our own way. We'll be looking for the best expertise in all the areas."
As for Macri, she said, "One of the important reasons we hired him is his complete understanding of not only women's accessories, but men's as well. What we're doing is positioning products for our own retail stores, as well." Karan currently has 28 freestanding Donna Karan boutiques throughout the world.
During Macri's tenure at DeVecchi, the company held the Calvin Klein accessories license for 2 1/2 years. Earlier, Macri had been with Balley, and before that, Bottega Veneta.
Discussing plans for Karan's accessories business, Macri said, "We'll be doing an entire line of men's accessories in leather, which will become a significant business, as well as women's and men's travel bags, carry-on bags and career-oriented items.
"We're going to refocus our efforts for women's accessories, focusing on luxury and beautiful detailing. We'll expand our evening range of belts and we plan to work with our design team to offer beautifully detailed day bags which will be classics."
Prior to joining Donna Karan, Caproni was president of Paloma Picasso Accessories. Earlier she was fashion director at I. Magnin.
In related moves at Karan, Murrey Nelson, director of licensing since 1990, has been promoted to vice president of licensing for the Donna Karan Co., a new post. Rosella Pedretti, vice president of DKNY Accessories, will become president of DKNY Accessories, another new post. Betty Ende was promoted to president of Donna Karan Company Stores. She had been its vice president.
Speaking about the introduction of the home collection, Karan said, "I would love to do it immediately. It's a passion of mine. I've been actively pursuing it and analyzing the best way to approach the market. Like anything else, it's about the product. That's how we went into the shoe business and the hosiery business.
"For me, it's about the desire to want to design the product. There will be the same sensuality and luxuriousness and modernity as my Collection. I believe it's all about our environment. It's not about the clothes."
Karan said her desire for a home furnishings collection, like her approach to fashion design, mirrors her personal needs. Besides looking for a new Manhattan apartment for herself and her husband, she's helping her daughter, Gabby, decorate a new apartment. "I'm her adviser with the checkbook," said Karan.
The designer added that she hopes the new Donna Karan store in London, planned for an August opening, will carry some home products.