Donna Karan steps down from Donna Karan International

Designer Donna Karan attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Centre on June 1, 2015, in New York City.
Designer Donna Karan attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Centre on June 1, 2015, in New York City.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Donna Karan is stepping down from her post as chief designer of Donna Karan International.

The company announced on Tuesday that Karan made "a personal decision to step down from her day-to-day responsibilities" at her namesake brand. She will shift her focus to Urban Zen, a standalone project she founded in 2007 that sells apparel, accessories, jewellery, home decor, and beauty products. Karan will remain with Donna Karan International "in an advisory role".

In an interview with Women's Wear Daily, Karan said she had a hard time balancing her various projects, and found she didn't have time to devote herself to both Donna Karen International and Urban Zen. "The clock is ticking," she said. "I have so many commitments and projects that require my full attention at Urban Zen, as well as my time-consuming philanthropic pursuits in healthcare, education, and preservation of culture. There are only so many hours in the day."

She founded her fashion label in 1984 with her late husband Stephan Weiss. The company went public in 1996, before its acquisition by French fashion titan LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton five years later. 

Rumours about Karan's status at Donna Karan International have swirled in recent months, following some changes among upper management. In April, she handed the creative reins of DKNY to Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, the much-lauded founders and creative directors of Public School, pushing out the previous design director. And in May, Karan's head of public relations Patti Cohen stepped down after a 30-year tenure.

Donna Karen International will not yet seek out a new lead designer for the Donna Karan Collection, the high-end couture label, WWD reported. At least for now, its runway shows will be suspended.