DKI SAID CUTTING CREATIVE STAFF

Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — Donna Karan International let go about 20 staffers in its creative services area on Thursday, according to sources, while employees throughout the company indicated concerns that more cuts could be in the works.
Speculation continues to mount that certain key posts could be in jeopardy as the company is absorbed into the LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton organization, following the completion of its acquisition last month. A spokeswoman for the firm did not return calls on Thursday.
The anticipated moves would come not only as LVMH digests the Karan business, but at a time of cutbacks at certain other designer firms as well, as the luxury sector struggles with the tough retail climate. As reported, in the past two weeks, Gucci let go 130 employees in the U.S. and Giorgio Armani eliminated 28 positions.
Donna Karan had eliminated a handful of creative services, advertising and investor relations positions in May, but the latest round of layoffs affects about 80 percent of the creative services department, sources said, indicating that the company’s coordinator program was closed. It could not be learned whether Alison Oblonsky, who directed the program, was part of the cutbacks. The department is structured under Trey Laird, executive vice president of imaging and creative services.
Job losses at Donna Karan could ultimately reach a higher number, as many duplicate positions may be absorbed by its new parent company. It would be the first sizeable cutbacks at the firm since 1999, when 175 employees were let go, mostly from its outlet store operations. Two years earlier, 285 jobs were eliminated as DKI consolidated its wholesale divisions and streamlined management as a way to reduce expenses.

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