2010 May 5

Return to Zen

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Donna Karan Donna Karan
CLINT SPAULDING/PatrickMcMullan.com
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(NEW YORK) “I’ll meet you at the oxygen bar. I want to grab a celery juice first.” When phrases like that are tossed around at a party, it must be a Donna Karan event. Last night friends congregated at Espace for Organic Elegance, a holistic soiree to benefit the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center. And how zen was Karan, the evening’s honoree, feeling? “Well, after last night!” she laughed and trailed off. “I have been in yoga mode, fashion mode and now tonight it’s all about the hospital. It’s a lot of switching gears, and a journey, to say the least!”

Supporters including Mike D of the Beastie Boys and Kathy Freston congratulated Karan, who was flanked by two fervent supporters: her daughter and her doctor. “Woody Merrell is not only my doctor, but my partner in crime,” she explained. “There’s a lot of work to do, but we are on our way. People say they have alternative medicine in hospitals, but other than Beth Israel, nobody has really integrated it into caring for patients.” Guests, feeling refreshed after a glass of carrot juice and trip to the reiki healing touch station during cocktail hour, shuffled into the dining hall.

The evening commenced unlike most benefits, beginning with a chair yoga relaxation exercise. After a period of stretching, everyone was instructed to “take a moment to experience the breathing in your body.” Officially zen-ed out, the crowd indulged in an ultra-organic meal (bien sur!) of chickpea salad and edible pansies, sake glazed striped bass and a hazelnut mousse for dessert.

An emotional Karan received the William Sarnoff Spirit Award, and smiled, “I’m feeling a little weak---I’m just glad I know that a doctor is in the house!” Later, organic chocolates were passed around the table and Elvis Costello took to the stage, opening with a performance of “Veronica.” “I wrote this about my grandmother!” he laughed. “She moved away one year, and I just missed my grandma so much.” The designer admitted that during her younger years, others would look at her and say, “There goes Donna on her woo-woo trip!” The group eagerly joined Karan on her holistic trip last night, and felt utterly calm by the evening’s end. And how do you wrap up an Urban Zen dinner? With, yes, another meditation.

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