×

Once registered, you can:

  • - Read additional free articles each month
  • - Comment on articles and featured creative work
  • - Get our curated newsletters delivered to your inbox

By registering you agree to our privacy policy, terms & conditions and to receive occasional emails from Ad Age. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Are you a print subscriber? Activate your account.

Are Women 'Asking for It'? Let's Watch Donna Karan Dig a Deep Hole

By Published on .

Fashion designer Donna Karan attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards at El Capitan Theatre on Oct. 8, 2017 in Los Angeles.
Fashion designer Donna Karan attends the 4th Annual CineFashion Film Awards at El Capitan Theatre on Oct. 8, 2017 in Los Angeles. Credit: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

So what's this all about?

Harvey Weinstein—the once-feared movie mogul and subject of a New York Times investigation that exposed decades of sexual harassment (by him) and led to his abrupt ouster from The Weinstein Company—doesn't have a lot of defenders right now. Except Donna Karan (sort of). A Daily Mail story published Monday evening quoted the fashion designer as defending Weinstein, in a red carpet interview at Sunday's CinéFashion Film Awards in Los Angeles, by saying,

I think we have to look at ourselves. Obviously, the treatment of women all over the world is something that has always had to be identified. Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, um, it's been a hard time for women. To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it, you know, by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality? You know, and what are we throwing out to our children today, you know, about how to dance and, you know, how to perform and what to wear? How much should they show?

Oh dear. She really said that?

Yeah—and "Are we asking for it" became the soundbite not only read around the world, but witnessed. Because the Daily Mail has video:

What the hell was she thinking?

God only knows.

So people are boycotting Donna Karan now, I suppose?

Yeah.

FYI, per The New York Times:

The G-III Apparel Group purchased Donna Karan International in 2016. Ms. Karan founded the fashion house named after her in 1984, and sold it to the French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2001. She stepped down from the helm of Donna Karan International in 2015 to focus on Urban Zen. G-III also holds licenses for Ivanka Trump, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.

Has the Donna Karan apology tour started yet?

Of course. By Monday night, Karan's spokesperson released this statement:

Last night, I was honored at the Cinemoi Fashion Film Awards in Hollywood and while answering a question on the red carpet I made a statement that unfortunately is not representative of how I feel or what I believe.

I have spent my life championing women. My life has been dedicated to dressing and addressing the needs of women, empowering them and promoting equal rights.

My statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel about the current situation concerning Harvey Weinstein.

I believe that sexual harassment is NOT acceptable and this is an issue that MUST be addressed once and for all regardless of the individual. I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended and everyone that has ever been a victim.

Wait, what? "My statements were taken out of context"? She made those statements on video.

Yeah, weird, right? Maybe "My statements were taken out of context" is in the celebrity-apology boilerplate document everyone uses and Karan's spokesperson forgot to delete that clause?

So what happens next?

Probably an on-camera statement of contrition in a sit-down interview. (Megyn Kelly's bookers must be hard at work right now.) A statement from the brand itself—which, as ofTuesday morning, hasn't addressed the controversy on its website or social channels, including @DKNY on Twitter. And maybe a major donation to a women's group.

Meawhile, everybody can stay busy turning the Donna Karan brand's own fashion statements and marketing against Donna Karan:

Most Popular