KARAN’S ICE BREAKER

Byline: Lisa Lockwood

NEW YORK — She’s done calendars, candles and coffee, and now Donna Karan has her own ice capade.
Her DKNY will be the official outfitter for the United States Figure Skating Association. DKNY has designed entire wardrobes for some 250 skaters, coaches and officials to wear at their upcoming nationals in January in Philadelphia, the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in February in Nagano, Japan, and the world championships in Minneapolis in March. Karan’s affiliation with the USFSA, which began this year, runs to 2002.
“Since the DKNY Active line is a growing business for us, we wanted to find an association for us with a sport. Figure skating is very much tied to style and is very much about how you look. It’s the single largest watched sport in America, next to NFL Football,” said Trey Laird, Karan’s senior vice president, creative services and advertising.
Since DKNY isn’t an Olympics sponsor, the skaters have to wear official Olympic garb for the opening and closing ceremonies in Japan, but for the national and world championships, they’re free to don DKNY from head to toe for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as their practice sessions and event-related activities.
DKNY will provide female skaters with fitted jackets, short wrap skirts, white T-shirts and blue fur-trimmed ski jackets, while male skaters will wear DKNY khakis, blazers, blue shirts, dark ties, navy ski jackets and warmup suits. DKNY sneakers, gloves, scarves, ski bands, duffel bags, mittens and ski gloves complete the look. A red ski jacket, as well as Polartec stretch items, will be added to the World team package.
Most of the skaters will wear their own outfits for their performances. However, Karan has designed special outfits from her top Collection to be worn during competitions by three skaters — namely Todd Eldredge, U.S. National Champion and World Silver Medalist in figure skating, and Elizabeth Punsalen and Jerod Swallow, national dance champions.
“Skating encompasses everything I love: artistry, energy, emotion, body language, personal expression, music, dance. It’s just beautiful to watch,” said Karan, chairman and chief designer of Donna Karan International.
“The nice thing about the dance competition is there’s much more leeway with the outfits. There are lifts, but no jumps, so Elizabeth can wear a longer skirt than other skaters,” said Dee Solomon, Karan’s vice president of corporate marketing and media.
In addition, Karan will exclusively outfit the CBS Sports announcers, commentators and on-air talent for the Indoor coverage at the Winter Olympics, which will air Feb. 6-27. CBS will devote 128 hours of coverage to the Winter Games. The indoor events include speed skating, ice hockey and figure skating. Some 17 men and women will be dressed in the fall Donna Karan Signature line, including tuxedos, slacks and cashmere sweaters, dresses and long coats.
“For us, it’s incredible broadcast coverage,” added Solomon.
Furthermore, Tara Lipinski, the 15-year-old World and U.S. Champion in figure skating, who is the official spokeswoman for DKNY Kids, will make an appearance at Macy’s Herald Square Saturday in the 7th floor children’s department to sign autographs. She’ll also make appearances in Japan.

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