3 posts tagged "Urban Zen"
Donna Karan has a special place in her heart for Haiti. After an earthquake devastated the country in 2010, Karan focused the efforts of Urban Zen—a foundation she founded in 2007 that aims to raise awareness, inspire change, preserve culture, and empower children—on Haiti. “In my travels throughout Haiti, I realized that the solution for rebuilding the country could be found in the inherent creativity of the people,” Karan told Style.com. This concept is at the core of her latest project, Fashion for Haiti: One Million Hearts. In partnership with eBay and the CFDA, Karan’s Urban Zen enlisted almost 150 CFDA designers to adorn and customize papier-mâché hearts—each of which was crafted by Haitian artist Magali Dresse.
Prabal Gurung jumped at the chance to help and designed hearts using fabric from his Fall ’13 collection. “[My Fall] inspiration was female empowerment, which I felt was appropriate to this cause,” said Gurung. Maria Cornejo wanted to make something “warm and textured,” and covered her hearts in red pony skin and stretch leather. Meanwhile, Pamela Love explained that her heart is meant to represent the third eye. Along with brands like Calvin Klein, Band of Outsiders, Oscar de la Renta, and Narciso Rodriguez (just to name a few), Karan created a slew of hearts, too. One series captures the youthful spirit of DKNY, one is for Urban Zen (“They represent my nomadic side,” said Karan), and one is for the Donna Karan line—we have to say, these are particularly adorable. “These are an expression of the feminine,” Karan told us. “They’re a beautiful, sensual woman’s heart.” All of the one-off objets d’hearts will be put up for auction on eBay, from April 22 through May 2. All proceeds will benefit Urban Zen’s Artisan program, which is dedicated to creating jobs and vocational education, as well as highlighting the creativity of Haiti’s artisans.
In between trips to Haiti (she’s set to depart again this afternoon), Donna Karan showed her Spring Urban Zen collection to a small group of reporters this morning. Models in suede lace-up sandals ambled through the West Village space, perching here and there on the collection’s line of handmade Balinese furniture. There were candles. There were floor-to-ceiling windows. There was green juice. There were nutty muffins. “We design clothes, home, accessories, and life,” Karan joked to the group. But she really means it. Few designers have as firm a grasp on a particular ethos and lifestyle as Karan; as she said herself, “Where would I be without the bodysuit and yoga?”
Urban Zen is Karan’s outlet for railing against the industry’s see-now-buy-later-wear-even-later runway-to-delivery schedule. Downstairs, in the retail space, the clothes on the models were for sale. The line’s buy-now-wear-now look is a pared-down version of Karan’s main line; the convertible pieces, in linen, cotton, and jersey, have lots of drape and cling, stretch and wrap. The current collection incorporates a black-and-white Aboriginal print and woven leather jewelry with roots in Senegal and Bali. A stack of bangles is actually a long, looped chain (“like a Slinky!” Karan said). A recurring T-shirt meets scarf motif is particularly practical: Cocoon yourself when you want to be covered up, unwrap when you want to want to show off. “Accent the positive,” Karan declared. Even yogis need a little protection from the elements.
Fashion week is busy in the best of circumstances—and at worst, an incomprehensible blur. Cab! Clothes! Air kiss! Repeat, ad nauseam. But anyone feeling run-down by the runaround should take a bead from stylist Kate Young and hasten to the Urban Zen shop on Greenwich Street. Between working with designers such as Yigal Azrouël and Derek Lam, the in-demand Young managed to squeeze in a side project this week, dressing the Urban Zen mannequins for a window installation that debuted yesterday. “I’m totally obsessed with Urban Zen,” Young explained. “Obsessed with the clothes, obsessed with the concept, obsessed with the store…” Lest anyone forget, Urban Zen is the foundation-funding fashion brainchild of Donna Karan and Sonja Nuttall, and persons attending Karan’s show on Friday will find themselves traipsing through the (yes) Zenlike store in any case, as it will be operating as the foyer to the Stephan Weiss Studio. Young’s advice: Take the opportunity to stop and smell the roses, metaphorically at least. “You go into that store, any time of day,” she says, “and people are, like, drinking tea and doing yoga. Amazing. The whole thing is kind of like, ahhhhh.”