Donna Karan Q&A

 

In town to toast her new space in Saks Bal Harbour and Spring 2014 fashion show at SLS Hotel, we chat up the design doyenne.

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Maria Tettamanti

Who says fetching coffee and refilling staplers won’t get you far in life? Not the inimitable Donna Karan. In fact, she touts her summer internship at age 18 with Anne Klein (yes, fetching coffee and refilling staplers) as the impetus behind her legendary 40-year career in fashion. Revered for being the master of drapery and timeless designs, Karan popped into the Magic City to toast her fresh new space in Saks Bal Harbour and for her Spring 2014 runway show at the SLS Hotel We rub elbows with the design doyenne and philanthropist behind the Urban Zen Center — a new model for approaching wellness, education and preservation of cultures.

Welcome to Miami! As a die-hard New Yorker, what do you love most about Miami? The sun. I first came to Miami when I was 16 years old and I met my first husband here on the beach near 48th street. I was staying at the Eden Roc with my mother.

You’re a fashion heroine to many but who’s your fashion hero? Coco Chanel, Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto and Rick Owens. I always say that if I ever retire, I want Rick to do my collection.

Describe the perfect day: I would get up, do yoga, drink my green juice, steam in my bath and then I’m out the door to work! I also love spending time with my 7 grandchildren.

What can’t you leave home without? A scarf.

You boast over 40 years in the rough-and-tumble fashion world. What inspires you collection after collection? Bali. It’s a place with so much soul and sense of community — it’s my muse for everything I do.

If you weren’t at the helm of a fashion empire, what would be Plan B? I would love to be able to sing like Barbra Streisand and dance like Martha Graham.

Most people don’t know you created Bill Clinton’s black crepe inauguration suit. What’s he like? He is so smart and compassionate. And he’s never wrong!

Sweet or salty? Sweet. My guilty pleasure is dark chocolate cacao.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know. I’m very private, you know? People think I’m really out there and really social but I live a very private life.

Look into your crystal ball, where is fashion heading? There is definitely a movement. toward philanthropy and consumerism. Conscious consumerism is the next wave of where we’re going.

Impart some words of wisdom for our readers: You can tell a lot about a woman by her shoes. I mean, look at me, I’m wearing gladiator sandals!

Speak Up!