Donald J Pliner was born in 1943 and raised in Chicago, Illinois, with his twin sister Donna. Born with a "silver shoehorn" in his mouth, Donald and brother, Elliot, worked as apprentices to their father, Leo, at the family owned Pliner's Florsheim Family Shoe Stores.
Donald opened Pappagallo Beverly Hills - his own retail storein 1967. First-year sales hit almost $1 million.
In 1971 Donald rose to retail prominence with the Right Bank Clothing Co. Located on Camden Drive in Beverly Hills, this store quickly became the source for fashion. Three years later, the store became the Right Bank Shoe Co., which served as the first American outlet for European designers like Thierry Mugler, Basile, Castelbajac, Maud Frizon, Stephane Kelian, Arche, Bisonte and Trussardi. At the same time, Donald opened a second store, The Right Bank Clothing Co. and Tea Room, on Rodeo Drive. Donald continued to innovate, developing a line of RBCC clothing, shoes and accessories. This line generated so much attention, it warranted a wholesale division. This was picked up and represented in specialty and department stores across the country. Meanwhile, the Right Bank Clothing Co. and Tea Room became the place of choice for celebrity meetings.
Intershoe recruited Donald to head a new line of Spanish-produced footwear called Glace in 1984. He not only designed the collection, but he also directed and conceived the whole operation, including sales. The result was the incredibly successful Glacee collection. Within two years, the line was sold nationwide.
In 1987 Donald moved into producing fashion-forward shoes for Erica. His design direction dramatically increased sales and new business.
In 1989 Donald once again created his own line of footwear and accessories with current company Donald J Pliner.
Donald designed his first all-over elastic shoe in 1994, using comfort as his underlying goal.
In 1998 Men's footwear is introduced by Donald J Pliner for the first time. What started as basic shoes made mostly of elastic has evolved into fashion for the male feet.
The Aventura Mall in South Florida is established in 1999 as the location for the first Donald J Pliner concept store.
In 2002 Donald J Pliner Handbags are re-launched with a complete makeover. Two collections of handbags are available, they include the "Couture" line, which is made in Italy, and the "Donald J Pliner" line, which is manufactured in Asia and other parts of the world. All of the accessories are designed to match the shoes in such elements as materials and
In 2003 Donald J Pliner opens his flagship store in Beverly Hills on Camden Drive.
Donald has launched Friends of BabyDoll Pliner in 2004, a collection featuring outerwear, collars, leashes, harnesses, day carriers, and FAA approved airline carriers for dogs up to 20 pounds.
Although his current collections include novelty materials and vibrant colors, almost every style has some elastic in it, whether hidden or used as the primary fabric for a shoe.