Following on from yesterday's news that Liz Claiborne Inc is to surrender its license for the DKNY Jeans and DKNY Active businesses one year ahead of schedule, Donna Karan International (DKI) says it now plans to ramp up the jeans unit's growth.

It has also hired Christa Michalaros, currently group president of Perry Ellis International Womenswear responsible for the Rafaella, C&C and Laundry lines, as the president of DKNY Jeans, joining the company early next month.

"The Jeans business is strategically important to the DKI Group and will remain a major component of our ready-to-wear structure," explained Mark Weber, chief executive officer of LVMH Inc in North America and chairman and CEO of DKI.

"While many men wear suits and many women wear dresses, everyone wears jeans.

"Accordingly, we see this business as critical to our strategic direction and vision - offering us the ability to establish close connections with large segments of customers across extensive department store distribution networks. We are thrilled that this opportunity presented itself."

The company will reclaim the license for the DKNY Jeans and DKNY Active businesses from 3 January 2012, and says it intends to retain the two lines' teams. DKNY Jeans current season, Holiday 2011, will be the last under the Liz Claiborne Inc license, with spring and summer 2012 assumed by DKI.

Weber added that Michalaros "will help us build DKNY Jeans into our third strong in-house brand."

Before her current roles, she served for five years as chief executive officer and a director of Rafaella, and was the president of the Tommy Hilfiger Womenswear division from 1999 to 2005. Her departure from Perry Ellis was revealed earlier this week.

Donna Karan International is part of luxury goods group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.