Donna Karan never wanted to be a designer

Donna Karan

Donna Karan never wanted to be a designer.

During a talk at The Festival of New at The New School, the 71-year-old opened up about her early years in fashion, and confessed to Allure's editor-in-chief Michelle Lee that she originally wanted to be a dancer.

"I hated fashion. My mother was in fashion, my father was in fashion. My father was a custom tailor. I wanted to sing like Barbra Streisand and I wanted to dance like Martha Graham," Karan confessed, according to WWD.

"We can make all the plans in the world, but you're being guided. From failing Parsons (School of Design) and not wanting to be a designer, still at the age of 71, I question what it's all about... Just go live it, be it, do what you can. Something up there really does guide us. The last person I wanted to be was a designer."

Karan began her career as an assistant designer at Anne Klein and later became head of the design team, and was working on a collection for the brand in 1974, just days after giving birth to her first daughter Gabby, when Klein passed away at the age of 50 after a battle with cancer. She remained with the company until 1985, when she launched her eponymous first collection, Donna Karan New York.

During the chat, she explained that she set up her own label because she wanted to make clothes for herself and her friends.

"All I wanted to do was a bodysuit, a pair of leggings, a wrap skirt. I did not want to do a collection. I just wanted to do my clothes for me," Karan insisted.

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