DONNA KARAN
SIGNATURE MAKES ITS MARK

NEW YORK — Where there’s a niche, there’s a Donna Karan label.
Case in point: The area between bridge and designer, where Karan has situated not one, but two collections — D for those of an artsy persuasion and Signature, which aims squarely at a career customer. “This customer is an executive woman. There are certain things she needs to buy,” says Karan.
Apparently retailers agree.
Since spring ’97, when Karan expanded what was then her Essentials line and relaunched Signature, bookings have been up 60 percent, according to Susan Sokol, president of the women’s Collection and Signature divisions. In addition to being a broader line than Essentials, Signature is also less expensive. “There is a strong price-value relationship, one that deepens the opportunity in this niche,” Sokol says. Jackets retail from $750 to $859; Essential’s jackets ranged from $950 to $1,100.
This spring, Donna continues with what she calls “the discipline of men’s wear geared strategically for working women.” She shows structured as well as relaxed tailored shapes, but there is also a considerable emphasis on jersey, which currently constitutes 25 percent of the Signature business. “It’s that masculine-feminine contrast,” Karan says. “It’s what I’m always about.”

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