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On the Road to Recovery: As Donna's Knee Mends, So Does DKNY

Donna Karan, who is recovering from a broken knee, is also experiencing a recovery in her DKNY business, which she shows today.

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Retailers welcomed some of these moves, and noted that the changes are already showing an effect on sales.

“We started to see some change about six months ago in the collection. We have seen some improvement in sell-through in the fall season, and cruise and spring are starting to sell in nicely, so we are encouraged,” said Joseph Boitano, senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Saks Fifth Avenue. “We thought there was more of a focus, moving forward in a clearer direction. DKNY seems to be targeted toward the modern bridge customer which is the business we target to grow dramatically. We will watch DKNY carefully. If  it continues to perform better, we will build it accordingly.”

Frank Doroff, senior executive vice president of ready-to-wear at Bloomingdale’s, concurred. “We think it’s a business that has future growth,” he said. “They went through a rough patch, and Mary has done an incredible job fixing it. The team repositioned the brand, and it now takes a more modern and more of a fashion approach to dressing.”

Stefani Greenfield, co-owner of Scoop, is building the DKNY business at her eight specialty boutiques. For spring, she even collaborated with DKNY on an exclusive group of long linen peasant skirts and long silk bias skirts labeled “DKNY for Scoop.” “DKNY is going to become a major business at Scoop,” she said. “With Mary Wang driving that business, they are in the best hands. They are creating items that have key value and can take you from day into evening.”

These words should be music to Karan’s ears, who has had a few harrowing moments since her skiing accident.

During the snowstorm that hit New York two weeks ago, the designer suffered such cabin fever that she decided to go to Central Park with a friend. After the fact, she came to the conclusion that it was a very bad decision in her condition.

“If you wanted the photo shoot of a lifetime, this was it,” she said. “My friend was wheeling me though the park. She has never wheeled a person in a wheelchair. And of course, I didn’t realize that a wheelchair doesn’t have snow tires. I flew off my chair and on my butt. I thought, ‘I cannot believe this is happening to me.’ I can’t get through the snow, so I asked the kids to borrow a saucer to get me through the snow. We negotiated this whole thing like nobody would believe it.”
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