"LVMH and I have made this decision after much soul-searching," said Karan in a statement. "I have arrived at a point in my life where I need to spend more time to pursue my Urban Zen commitment to its fullest potential and follow my vision of philanthropy and commerce with a focus on health care, education and preservation of cultures. After considering the right time to take this step for several years, I feel confident that DKI has a bright future and a strong team in place."
The decision has immediate effect, with the company announcing that they are not currently looking for a replacement for Karan and there will be no spring/summer 2016 catwalk show at New York Fashion Week this September. But, while Karan will no longer be creating collections for the brand that she established in 1984 with her late husband Stephan Weiss, she will stay on as a close adviser to DKI (which also encompasses the DKNY brand) under a long-term agreement.
Karan's Urban Zen label, which the designer owns independently, is a lifestyle brand that creates simple, timeless basics in neutral hues, complemented by jewellery, accessories and handmade home furnishings. It is said to be introducing a yoga line later this year.
In April, the company announced that it had appointed Dao Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne - the Public School design duo - as creative directors of its DKNY line. In last night's statement it confirmed that it would be "reorganising its teams and structure in order to substantially increase its focus on the DKNY brand."
"Donna Karan is a part of me, past, present and future," continued Karan. "It has been an honour to speak woman to woman about "seven easy pieces" that forever changed the way women dress. I want to express my gratitude and my deepest feelings to the dozens and dozens of colleagues over the years who have helped take Donna Karan New York far beyond my wildest dreams."