Fashion designer Donna Karan’s story begins with her grandfather, Israel Faskowitz, who was born on May 20 1874 in Russia. He came to America in 1891, but didn’t become a citizen until 1923, years after he and his wife, Bella, had two children — a daughter, Miriam, and a son, Gabby. Gabby, born in 1900, loved the clothing business and became a successful haberdasher in Manhattan. He shortened his last name to Faske, and married one of his models named Helen, known in the industry as “Queenie,” who was 20 years his junior.
They moved to a new luxury building with wraparound brick balconies at 123-35 82 Road in Kew Gardens. They were blessed with abeautifulbaby girl in October 1948 whom they named Donna Ivy Faske. Gabby suddenlydied in May 1952 at age 52. Public records show Donna’s mother remarried Harold Flaxman in 1953, and Donna joined the two in moving out to Woodmere, LI.
Donna attended Parsons School of Design in Manhattan. After graduating, she was hired by Anne Klein and eventually became head of the design team. After leaving the company, she started her own brand called DKNY, which was a more affordable line of clothing for younger women, an entrepreneurial project that saw great success.
Her Kew Gardens home still appears in pristine condition today. It has since become a co-op building.