Karan credits her feminine instincts for the success of the company she founded in 1984 with her late husband Stephan Weiss, which went on to be come a publicly traded enterprise in 1996, and then five years later, was acquired by its present owner, the French luxury conglomerate, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Throughout her long career, Karan’s peers have acknowledged her achievements with numerous accolades. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has saluted her six times; and most recently in 2010 she was nominated for their womenswear designer of the year award. In 2003, Karan was the first American Designer to receive Fashion Group International's "Superstar Award." A year later, Parsons gave her an honorary doctorate to commemorate her contribution to the school and fashion industry, and in 2007, Glamour magazine named Karan one of their Women of the Year.
A member of CFDA ’s board of directors, Karan conceived and spearheaded its Seventh on Sale benefits to raise funds for AIDS awareness and education. Karan co-chairs the annual New York “Kids for Kids” events for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation since its 1993 inception, as well as underwrites “Super Saturday,” an annual designer flea market/barbeque to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. To facilitate her many ongoing philanthropic involvements, in 1999, Karan and Weiss established the Karan Weiss Foundation. Karan's Urban Zen Foundation, founded in 2007, is the culmination of Karan's philanthropic efforts: advancing wellness, preserving culture and empowering children.
Photo: Ruven Afanador