Donna Karan is one of the most iconic American fashion designers of her generation. Not only has she pioneered many of the silhouettes of the modern urban woman, but her business saavy also predicted trends in the market long before they became commonplace. Karan got her start in the fashion industry working for the house of Leo designer Anne Klein, eventually working her way up to associate designer. On March 19, 1974, Karan gave birth to her only child, daughter Gabrielle, and simultaneously was informed of the death of her employer, Anne Klein, that very same day. The owner of the company anointed Karan the new head designer.
On that day in 1974, her natal Uranus at 0′ Cancer was being activated by transiting Saturn at 28′ Gemini. Uranus is the planet of random, unexpected occurances, and Saturn is the planet of serious consequences, and its associated sign, Capricorn, is concerned with career. This indicated there was an unexpected and serious career transition about to be made. There was another important transit happening in her chart at this time as well. The moons nodes, which are not a planet or luminary, but rather an angle that measures a relationship between the sun and the moon, are considered very seriously by most astrologers, especially followers of Eastern astrology practices, as they are said to indicate karma and deep symbolic relationships. The transiting North Node of positive karmic flow, was exactly conjunct Karan’s natal Jupiter at 23′ Sagittarius that day, meaning that this is the natal placement of the true node in Karan’s daughter Gabby’s birthchart. Jupiter is the planet of good luck and benevolence, and this is strong, happy bond between mother and daughter. Indeed the two are famously close.
Karan remained head designer at Anne Klein until 1984 when she left the company and started her own line, Donna Karan Collection, with her husband Andy. Her goal was “to design modern clothes for modern people”. This was a unique time in fashion, as the 1970s had started the trend of the working woman in the business place, and by the 1980s they were gaining confidence and the famous 1980s female power-suit came into vogue. In the 70s, the almost accidentaly revolutionary Capricorn Diane Von Furstenburg had created jersey wrap dresses for women, a simple design with no zipper, so that they could be comfortable and still feminine at work. The look caught on and Karan picket up on the trend, using lots of jersey to create comfortable bodysuits and dresses.
The idea of using masculine silhouettes for women, or creating feminine style for women that are specifically tailored to her remaining chic while still appropriate for the corporate world, are deeply associated with the Capricorn and Saturn energy. Capricorn is after all that rare paradox of a feminine sign (introverted, perceptive) but with a very masculine homefront (work, career, public reputation). Needless to say, Karan has a strong Capricorn signature to her chart. Her Venus, planet of art and beauty, which is generally positioned strongly in the chart of an artist, is conjunct Saturn at 2′ Virgo. Virgo is an earth sign like Capricorn, and extremely detail oriented. The Venus in Virgo style is simple and uncluttered, with perfect detailing. This is exaggerated even more by the Saturn conjunction, which provides a second encore of “Do we really need those bells and whistles?”
Karan’s exact birthtime in not publicly available, however there is a 50/50 chance that she was born with the moon in Capricorn as well, as it moved from Sagittarius into Capricorn around noon in New York on the day of her birth. Even without the moon in Capricorn, this Venus/Virgo/Saturn placement describes her style perfectly. Capricorn moon people tend to love business, but Karan never showed much of an appetite for it, and even stepped down as CEO of her company in 1997, wishing only to have artisitic responsibilities. This could be an indication of her moon being in Saggitarius, as could her reported involvement with the Kabbalah, as Sagiattarius is the sign of religion and spirituality.
Libra is the sign of partnership and Karan displayed the ability to attract the perfect partner throughout her career. She started her company with a partner, her husband Andy. And almost all of the other merchandise in her empire is liscenced out to different partners. Liz Claibourne make the DKNY Jeans brand, Estee Lauder creates the makeup and frangrance lines and Esprit does the childrens collection, etc. This is the type of brilliant use of partnerships that Libras are famous for. And of course in the past several years we have seen tons of lucrative partnerships develop in the fashion industry but Donna Karan was truly a trend-setter in this regard. Her DKNY line, a lower-priced and younger version of her original collection, launched in 1990 was also quite revolutionary. Its marketing capitalized on the casual glamour of the New York street life, using shots of the city itself as well as models in everyday situations. This style has been imitated time and time again, but DKNY, which still advertises this way, will always be the original.
Through the years, her style has evolved yet remained constant in its devotion to simple, comfortable, modern and flattering styles for the urban woman, and there is no doubt that Karan is a lifelong New Yorker, with her pulse on the simple but trendy styles, and colors, that New York women love to wear. Though Libra is famous for loving pastels, Karan has stayed away from this pallette, perhaps becuse of her strong Earth sign placements, and instead favors grays, neutrals and of course black. Her love of black can also be attributed to her Mercury and Mars in Scorpio, a sign whose natives would wear black at all times if they could get away with it. Interesting shades of yellows and greens also often make their way into her collection but rarely in the pastel shades. Karan also often plays with symmetry, creating one armed tops and dresses, and skirts cut on the bias. Libra is the sign of balance and symmetry and harmony is a life-long fascination with them. Karan has found ways to stray from traditional balance in seach for something more modern but equally beautiful. And her ability to take her Libra sensibilties and turn them into elegant yet modern styles for todays woman is extraordinary.