After retail challenges and several management changes, DKNY seems to have turned the corner and is now on course to experience a quiet but definite renaissance.
The same can be said for Karan herself. Though the designer is still hobbling on crutches or sitting in a wheelchair after breaking her left knee skiing in Sun Valley over a month ago, she is making a speedier-than-expected recovery and was well enough to return to work last week. Karan said that this was the first time in her 35-year career that she had to miss crucial stages of putting together Donna Karan Collection and DKNY, both owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, but she managed to pull off the fashion feat nevertheless.
“From a creative point of view, I am really happy with the result,” she said, sitting in her office at 550 Seventh Avenue last Thursday. “Thank God I had seen pre-fall before the accident, so I knew exactly what it was going to be like. I am pretty much a control freak, and the team did an amazing job of pulling it all together. I am so proud of them that I didn’t have to do anything, except edit what I really loved. When you have a team you have been with for so long, they know you. They know what you are going to say and what you are not going to say.”
The accident happened nearly three years after the designer broke her right knee in the same spot while helicopter skiing in Sun Valley. The irony does not pass unnoticed. Karan rolled up her leather pants that day to show her two scars, and even managed to make a crack about them.
“This is the exact same thing,” Karan said of the fresh scar on her left leg. “I have seven screws in this [left] knee and six screws in this [right] one. I got one more screw this time, so I got screwed. I wanted to have a pair. I didn’t really want to, but destiny wanted me to have a pair. During collections, I have a pretty sick sense of humor.”