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DKNY Is Reportedly Looking for New, Young Creative Director

Prabal Gurung and the designers of Public School are said to be in the running.
Donna Karan at DKNY's fall 2015 runway show. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Donna Karan at DKNY's fall 2015 runway show. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

For more than 25 years, Donna Karan has been taking the bow at the runway shows for both of her ready-to-wear lines: Donna Karan New York and DKNY. But it sounds like someone else could soon be taking the bow at the latter — perhaps someone we already know.

According to WWD, Donna Karan CEO Caroline Brown, who joined the company last September, is looking for a new person to head up the design team at DKNY. (Although Karan has always taken the bow, DKNY has been designed by Executive Vice President of Design Jane Chung since its inception.) Possible candidates reportedly include Prabal Gurung, Public School's Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow (who would be a great fit for the New York-centric brand) and Andrea Lieberman of A.L.C., none of whom confirmed that they were being considered. A rep for DKNY declined to comment.

Rumors that Karan was stepping down from the diffusion line surfaced after DKNY's fall 2014 show. Karan was visibly emotional when she took her bow, though she later denied the rumors to CBS News, saying she was "too energized" to step down. "The thing that I love about having the two brands," she said, "it really gives me an expression to be able to express so many different things that you want to say." 

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DKNY was created to appeal to a younger customer base than Donna Karan's higher-end line, and every move the brand makes — from putting Cara Delevingne and Rita Ora in its ad campaigns to casting "real" models in its runway shows — is done in an effort to appeal to the social media generation. So it's not surprising that the company might want to bring on someone young and recognizable to design and front the line.

The move would be similar to what Marc Jacobs did in 2013 by hiring Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier to help liven up Marc by Marc Jacobs and give it its own identity. Granted, that setup didn't last long. It's also worth noting that DKNY (like Marc Jacobs) is owned by LVMH — a company that likes to keep its eye on young, talented designers, and potentially hire them when it feels one of its luxury brands needs a refresh.