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Donna Karan Staying Put

<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = CS /><CS:BOLD>NEW YORK -- "Hell no, I won't go!" appears to be the rallying cry of Donna Karan, who doesn't plan to give up any control over the designer collection, WWD has learned.<BR><BR>And from the look of things, the...

NEW YORK — “Hell no, I won’t go!” appears to be the rallying cry of Donna Karan, who doesn’t plan to give up any control over the designer collection, WWD has learned.

And from the look of things, the designer collection won’t be landing in the hands of Jane Chung, executive vice president of DKNY design, as speculated.

In January, rumors were swirling that LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which acquired Karan’s business last year for $643 million, wanted Karan to step aside and assume a more strategic role within the company by yearend.

It was believed that Chung was going to step into Karan’s shoes as head designer for the Collection. At the time, Karan’s spokeswoman denied that Chung had been tapped to take over the Collection and said it was highly unlikely that Karan would give up control.

Certainly not for the foreseeable future.

According to sources, LVMH’S whole plan began to unravel when Karan refused to be pushed to the sidelines. If Chung signed on to take over the designer Collection, she’d report directly to Pino Brusone, chief executive officer of DKI.

Brusone was in Milan and couldn’t be reached for comment at presstime, and Karan herself was at a yoga retreat in Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos Islands.

A company spokeswoman said Thursday that Karan remains the chief designer of Donna Karan International and its subsidiaries and she oversees all design for the company. Chung is executive vice president of DKNY design and reports to Karan.

“There are no plans at this time to make any changes,” she said.

However, she confirmed that a search is on for a design director of the women’s Collection, succeeding Andrew Comley, who’s moving back to London, and that person would report to Karan, too.