Fashion’s Woman of the Year – Donna Karan

There will be polls, predictions, reminiscing and remonstrations of 2010 but for me Fashion has played a big part of the year. Okay, I confess, it filled nearly my whole year. I went to 3 Fashion Weeks, saw so many fashion shows (both live and online live)  that I have totally lost count. I, along with many other men and women, have a huge capacity and passion for Fashion. Deep down, I think it will save the world. The amazing designers that are inspired to create wearable art drive a gigantic invisible global economy. From the inspired minds of those said designers to the willing consumers that wear it (and spend a lot of money), there are millions of people behind the scenes who touch the industry gainfully. As I reflect back over this difficult year (for many) I see one person who has gone farther and touched more people in a way she didn’t have to. But she did. Many of the gifts of herself were given without fanfare, lauding or the press seeking that others would have sought. In her quiet way, she has gone around doing good all year. To her, I stand up, (with many others) and salute.  The list of charitable work she has accomplished along with keeping tabs on her designs for the endless Fashion Seasons and Red Carpets is mind boggling. This was your year, Donna Karan. To me you are Fashion’s Woman of the Year.

This year Donna Karan redesigned her website and devoted a large portion of it to include a beautiful place for other inspiring women to share what is really important to them and the benefits they are contributing to mankind. From Uma Thurman to Inman to Meera Ghandi, the results are as amazing as the women she highlighted. She calls it:



 A Foundation, Donna Karan started in 2007 to create, connect and collaborate to raise awareness and inspire change in the areas of well-being in patient advocacy, empowering children by giving them tools to thrive, and preserving cultures by celebrating craft to allow for sustainability. The foundation designs forums, partners with existing organizations and brings together experts to define solutions and implement action. Donna is quoted, “I have founded the Urban Zen initiative to create a working structure for advancing wellness, preserving culture and empowering children. These are causes that mean the world to me.” She wears necklaces hand made from Senegal by an artisan named Wanga. “When I love something, it becomes a part of me. Especially when it comes to what I wear,” Karan states on her website.


Complete with rides, raffles and unbelievable shopping, Super Saturday is an annual designer flea market/barbeque founded with the late Liz Tilberis in 1998 to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research fund. “ I started this thirteen years ago, with my friend Liz Tilberis, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, who had ovarian cancer,” Karan writes. “Super Saturday has since grown and now it’s a living tribute to Ms. Tilberis, as well as a way for the Hamptons community to help make a difference in the fight of this dreadful disease.”

Quoting from Donna Karan’s website; “This is a call to action that you’ll love: A beautiful glass bead bracelet, made by a Rwandan woman artisan, who is rebuilding her life, while also preserving her culture and traditions. After all the suffering that has gone on in Rwanda, the effort now lies in rebuilding lives, one by one. But how do we help? By simply buying a bracelet. Same Sky employs HIV+ women in Kigali, Rwanda who survived the 1994 genocide. Each hand-blown glass and crocheted bracelet is signed by the woman who made it. We gave them to the models to wear at the Fall shows to help raise awareness. The colors are breathtaking. Wear one, or stack them up. It’s a great gift – to yourself, to your loved ones, to those women using the craft of their heritage to rebuild their lives while still living their lives and raising their families.” 
Donna Karan photo by Miami Olivia
As many know, I had the privilege of sitting close to the entrance of the Donna Karan SS2011 Fashion Show. A show that dripped with emotion and passion of a life lived in touch with her fellow man. It certainly brought tears to my eyes. The Fashion World knows how much she gives but sometimes we all get caught up in selling the product and promoting ourselves that we forget the people who spend their time on what really counts in life. The list of charitable ventures is endless with this emotional, loving, and truly caring Woman in Fashion. From her we can see that there is much we can do with our lives for the good of mankind. She is an inspiration and mentor to us all. Thank you Donna Karan for a life of Love and Service. You are our Woman of the Year! 

“Everything I do is a matter of heart, body and soul. For me, designing is an expression of who I am as a woman, with all the complications, feelings and emotions.” -Donna Karan

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Fashion’s Woman of the Year – Donna Karan — 2 Comments

  1. Wow… Lovely post Olivia. And you're so right… Donna Karen is one amazing woman and she always inspires me. I would dearly love to attend one of her shows someday. I am almost positive I would be moved to tears! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and stylish 2011! xxx

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