Donna Karan Adds Denim to Collection

Donna Karan is launching a jeans line within her Donna Karan Collection label for spring.

View Slideshow

Donna Karan just found her favorite jeans.

This story first appeared in the September 25, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I went into business in the first place in order to create jeans that I couldn’t find for myself and that’s what DKNY started as — a jeans life,” Karan said. “Jeans really are the essentials of a woman’s wardrobe and that is what Donna Karan is all about.”

But as she lives a lot of her life in her DKNY denim, Karan said she found a new niche to fill for that “decadent, sexy, iconic” pair of jeans. That’s why the designer is launching a jeans line within her Donna Karan Collection label for spring.

Retailing for $395 to $595, Karan has constructed the Japanese denim fabrics into what she considers the ultimate in flattering jeans styles.

“We are always talking about the perfect items to pack when we go away — I pick clothes for a beach lifestyle when I go to Parrot Cay or to the Hamptons,” she said. “These are the kind of jeans that you will want to pack and get a lot of use out of.”

Mark Weber, chairman and chief executive officer at Donna Karan International, said that he recognizes this poor economy would not typically be the right time to launch such a high-end jeans collection.

“While no one is immune to the difficulties in this economy, we find that our customers respond well to those special pieces within a collection,” Weber said. “These jeans are special and unique — they are something to excite customers, but also work as a staple for a woman’s wardrobe.”

The line features five different styles. In order to take attention away from the hips, the seams are sewn along the back of each pair instead of down the sides. There is a skinny style, which is an evolution of the label’s popular motorcycle pant; a flared style; relaxed jeans; a cropped beach style, and a straight leg. Each style is available in three washes — pure white, faded blue and medium indigo.

“The fabrics on these jeans are pieced in a way to wrap around the body,” said Carole Kerner, president of Donna Karan Collection. “The skinny jeans are engineered to be flexible and comfortable and the beach jeans are really what you want to wear on the beach.”

For that extra bit of bling, Karan commissioned Robert Lee Morris to create the brass hardware — buttons and rivets — on each pair. The buttons are designed to look and feel irregular and curved — a Robert Lee Morris signature. Also, the back waistbands are all higher than in the front in order to make for easier, more comfortable bending and the back pockets are sewn with a simple, handcrafted stitch, rather than a typical double-needle stitch. As an added bonus, each interior pocket has an inspirational quote from Karan, such as: “Embrace life’s every curve with imagination.”

The jeans will be sold in all Donna Karan Collection stores next spring. Kerner said she will also have them available for wholesale to select high-end specialty stores.

View Slideshow