By  on October 2, 2007

NEW YORK — Bonnie Young, senior creative director for Donna Karan Collection, has left the company to focus exclusively on her namesake children's wear label.

When reached on Monday, Young, whose last day at Donna Karan International was on Friday, said she had been mulling the move for months, and made the decision based on the speedy growth of her own label. Launched last year, the children's wear line has already been picked up by retailers around the world, including Barneys New York in New York and Los Angeles, Harvey Nichols in London, Club 21 in Singapore and Mercury in Moscow.

"I launched my own company a year ago, and it is going so well that I can't keep track of everything," Young explained.

Another contributor to leaving DKI is the plan to open her first freestanding store in Aspen, Colo., this December. Located on Cooper Street, the unit is a partnership with hedge fund executives Dana and Tim Presutti, who are the parents of a school friend of Young's daughter, Celia Isadora. "We ran into them on the street one day and my daughter asked to have her friend over for a playdate," Young said. "She came over with her mother, who saw the clothing, and said, 'We're moving to Aspen, can I open a store for you?'"

The children's wear designer plans to turn her collection into a whole lifestyle concept. She recently launched boys' wear, and said she would like to add cosmetics, shoes and hosiery to her assortment. "When you have your own store, you can do anything you want," she said.

As senior creative director at DKI, Young worked in such areas as fabrics, inspirations and the general directions of the Collection.

She added that leaving the fashion house after almost 16 years was a difficult decision to make, since she considers it her "home," and Karan "a second mom."

Young said Karan has been very supportive of her new venture and sells the children's collection in her own Collection stores. Young will continue to work closely with Karan on special charity projects concerning children. "It's a personal connection that will never go away," she said.

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