Donna Karan, Mashonda Tifrere’s Art Lead Her Team for ‘King Woman’ Exhibit at Urban Zen

Donna Karan has teamed with Mashonda Tifrere’s nonprofit Art Lead Her to put on an all-women exhibit called “King Woman” at Karan’s store and community space Urban Zen.
Pieces from Reisha Perlmutter, Delphine Diallo, Swoon and 12 other emerging and midcareer artists lined the walls of Urban Zen during a recent visit. Tifrere, dressed all in black just like Karan, pointed out one piece that especially moved her by Perlmutter. It’s a painting of a woman with vitiligo, her face peering above a pool of water in which her body’s submerged. Her hair is wet and slicked back.
“Reisha wanted to portray the woman in the portrait as strong and beautiful in her own skin,” Tifrere said. “On opening night, the woman came, and when she saw her picture hanging on the wall, she started bawling.”
There are individual stories like this one behind most of the pieces included in “King Woman”; Tifrere, who curated the showing, said it was imperative to forge relationships with the artists after selecting them to be part of the exhibition. She added she’d found all of them by looking around on Google and Instagram, then meeting them in person at art fairs.

Delphine Diallo’s “Highness” is on

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By the Book: By the Book: Donna Leon

The crime writer, whose latest Guido Brunetti mystery is “Unto Us a Son Is Given,” says Charles Dickens “will teach any writer how to plot and can turn a sentence into an incantation.”
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Donna Karan Joins Other Designers in ‘American Style’ on CNN

Donna Karan is among the designers who appear in CNN’s new original series, “ American Style,” which will air Jan. 13 and Jan. 20, with back-to-back episodes at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., ET.
The four-part docuseries features archival footage and interviews with Karan, along with Tim Gunn, Carson Kressley, Vanessa Williams, Beverly Johnson, Isaac Mizrahi, Jeffrey Banks, Christie Brinkley, John Varvatos and Diane von Furstenberg, among others.
In one of the episodes, Karan talks about how when she began working, clothes were suits, shirts and ties, and she created the idea of “Seven Easy Pieces,” beginning with the bodysuit. The show examines how America’s changing style through the decades has mirrored the political, social and economic climate of the time. The series, which also touts First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump, highlights the most iconic moments from fashion and pop culture.

Jacqueline Kennedy in CNN’s “American Style.” 

The premiere episode explores style in the Forties and Fifties, how World War II and Hollywood helped create America’s own fashion identity, and the introduction of new trends such as the bikini, Zoot suit, shoulder pads, and the white tee as popularized by James Dean. The second episode tackles the style of the

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Donna Karan to Open New Urban Zen Store, Restaurant in Hamptons

Donna Karan has had safari on the brain for some time, as evidenced in her latest Urban Zen spring collection that lands in stores this month. While visiting her West Hollywood store, Karan talked excitedly about her upcoming African sojourn, which will be her fourth visit to the continent. But she was also eager to share news of her newest Urban Zen store, opening next month in Sag Harbor, N.Y., which will combine retail with a restaurant run in partnership with her daughter Gaby.
“It’s going to be bigger, and in a new location,” she said of the venture, which will open the week before Memorial Day. She skipped back to her trip, which will take her to Kenya to speak at a private summit with her Urban Zen cofounders; Tanzania; Rwanda, and her favorite African country, Ethiopia.
“It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Definitely my favorite place. You can’t see colors and people like this anywhere else,” she said, scrolling through photos on her iPhone, some of which she took herself on her last trip there, and others taken by her traveling companion Calvin Klein. “Calvin just went crazy there, it was like models at a photo shoot for him,”

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Michèle Lamy, Donna Karan Hold No Punches at Rick Owens

The artist, wife and business partner of Rick Owens, Michèle Lamy, said she is working on many projects, including the ongoing Corner Shop in Selfridges, which includes punching bags decorated by designers and artists. Through the concept called Lamyland, she is posing the question of what everybody is fighting for today.
“The boxing is a good metaphor,” she said. “Joyce Carol Oates said it better than me, that you know you are going to get blows, but you need to stand up for your beliefs.”
Lamy said she was sporting Rick Owens at the show, but that’s not always the case. “I’m not completely monogamous,” she said.
In town to showcase her Urban Zen collection to buyers, fellow designer Donna Karan wouldn’t be doing much physical punching, sporting a broken hand. “I wear Rick,” she said, adding she is a faithful guest at Owens’ show. “I’ve always dreamed of him doing Donna Karan. So I wouldn’t have to work anymore,” she smiled.

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CEO Talks: Donna Carpenter of Burton Snowboards

Donna Carpenter was only 20 years old when she walked into a bar in Londonderry, Vt., on New Year’s Eve in 1981 — and her life changed forever.
It was there that she met Jake Burton Carpenter, who had started a business out of his barn in 1977 creating this newfangled product called a snowboard. They married a year later and over the past 35 years have worked together to build Burton Snowboards into an undisputed leader in the snow sports industry.
Donna Carpenter, who started out dipping snowboards in polyurethane and answering the customer service line that rang in their bedroom, was named chief executive officer in February 2016. Over the years she has been credited with creating and expanding the company’s international operations, which now account for about two-thirds of its overall volume. She has also been a champion of the company’s initiatives for equality in the workplace as well as for its push to become a 100 percent sustainable company by 2020. The mother of three also oversees Burton’s Chill Foundation, its non-profit mentoring program for underprivileged children.
Here, Carpenter talks about Burton’s past, present and future and how the brand manages to remain on the cutting edge of snow

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Fabrizio Viti Channels Donna Summer for Cruise

LOVE TO LOVE: Fabrizio Viti brought his cruise collection of footwear to a little-known corner of the Champs-Elysées, the Hôtel de la Païva. Tucked away from the noise of the French capital’s busiest tourist district, the sandals, heels and boots were displayed in an imposing setting of plush burgundy and dark wood.
And there was a portrait of Donna Summer nestled under a thick bouquet of mauve flowers. It was surrounded by sexy cocktail heels in leopard-printed silk and metallic gold, some sporting his trademark upward curved heel that gives an illusion of height.
Make no mistake: the funk star inspiration is not just a passing, seasonal fancy for this designer, who is also style director for Louis Vuitton’s women shoes. A longtime fan, Viti became friends with the late diva and her daughters. To the Tuscan-born Italian, Summer represents a strong, intelligent woman — and a singer trained on Broadway.
“Do you see these girls now who were chosen by producers?” he asked, noting he doesn’t see the point in sending them his shoes, as some have suggested he do. Summer’s portrait on his cellphone screen? “That was taken in 1978 — so she was 30, of course,” he said.
Still, Viti insisted

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Donna Quesada: Art Review

My dear friend Larry Payne mentioned that he had just purchased three watercolor paintings, so I arranged a visit to this exciting new artist’s atelier. Based in Culver City, CA, Donna Quesada finds inspiration in nature. Towering over her home studio are two giant sycamore trees that she says are the sole survivors of what was once a line of 122 brothers and sisters. Intertwined among them now are various other plants and trees, such as palms, umbrellas and even banana trees.

Donna showed me her paintings and the first thing I noticed was that some of her exquisitely ornate watercolors had a slightly Asian feel. Donna said that she loves to work with a special Japanese ink called sumi-é, which she often uses alongside watercolor. It is the sumi-é that gives many of her pieces an eastern feel.

Here are four of my favorites:

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I loved the black trees juxtaposed by the bright leaves in “Yellow Autumn Trees.” It is simple yet dramatic and striking, immediately conveying the feeling of the changing season.

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“Pink Blowing Tree” was another immediate favorite. If you look closely you can see layers of splattered paint in myriad colors bursting off of the canvas and making the painting feel dynamic and alive. I loved the paradoxical mood created by the dark ink background with the brightness of the sky and the tree. This is a very exciting painting.

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With the sycamores above the studio, it is easy to see how “Sycamore Tree” came into fruition. The upward perspective was dizzying and enticing; it made me feel as if the tree was reaching towards the infinite.

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With its subdued palette of earthy colors and speckled snow, “Boy & Dog in the Snow” is a vivid impression of a winter day in the woods.

For more information please visit www.DonnaQuesada.com

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Donna Karan to Discuss New Memoir at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

BOOKING IT: Donna Karan is taking her story on the road, but first a few sit-downs in New York.
On Oct. 20, she will have a conversation with Alina Cho, editor at large at Random House, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, followed by a book signing for her new memoir, “My Journey.” It is a private Friends of The Costume Institute event. As reported, she will also be having a conversation with her friend, Trudie Styler at the 92nd Street Y on Oct. 15. Next week, there will be not one, but two parties to celebrate her memoir. The first is Monday night at Tutto Il Giorno, hosted by Pierre-Yves Roussel and Anna Wintour, and the second is Wednesday night at Urban Zen.

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Donna Karan and Trudie Styler to Chat About the Designer’s New Book

Donna Karan will be sitting down with Trudie Styler to discuss the fashion designer’s new book, “My Journey.” The conversation will take place at the 92nd Street Y on Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
In her book (Ballantine Books, $ 30), which will be published Oct. 13, Karan shares her life story, including intimate and candid stories of her difficult childhood, her five decades working on Seventh Avenue, her two marriages, motherhood and her spiritual journey over the last 20 years, as well as her departure from her namesake label last June.
“Sting [Styler’s husband] and I were both born on the same day, Oct. 2, so we have a lot in common,” said Karan.
Tickets can be purchased through the 92nd Street Y Web site.

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Breaking: Donna Karan to Step Down as Lead Designer of Her Brand

donna-karan
Donna Karan taking her final runway bow during New York Fashion Week in February.

Breaking designer news: Donna Karan is stepping down from namesake company, Donna Karan International.

WWD reports that the 66-year old designer is leaving the design world to focus on her philanthropic work with Urban Zen, which according to its web site, aims to “raise awareness and inspire change in the areas of preservation of cultures, well-being and education.”

“I have arrived at a point in my life where I need to spend more time to pursue my Urban Zen commitment to its fullest potential and follow my vision of philanthropy and commerce with a focus on health care, education and preservation of cultures,” Karan told WWD. “After considering the right time to take this step for several years, I feel confident that DKI has a bright future and a strong team in place.”

This announcement comes right on heels of the April announcment that Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, would become designers for Karan’s contemporary brand, DKNY.

To say Donna Karan is a fashion industry icon is an understatement. She was an integral part of building the foundation of American fashion design, having come up alongside Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass in the ’80s. What’s more, she was one of the few female designers, designing for women—which earned her a devoted female fanbase who felt she really understood their bodies and their needs.

After assisting Anne Klein for several years, the New York native started her namesake label in 1985, with what would become her signature “seven easy pieces.” She envisioned the interchangeable jersey bodysuits, dresses, cocoon blazers etc, would become the foundation of a woman’s wardrobe. And they did.

Karan has been bestowed every significant fashion award there is and most notably, her eighth CFDA award came in 2003 for Lifetime Achievement. She was also one of Glamour’s Women of the Year in 2007.

Update: According to a statement from Donna Karan International, the firm will not seek to replace Karan as Chief Designer for the Donna Karan label quite yet. Shows and collections will be suspended for a period of time.



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Dim All the Lights for Donna Summer: My Personal Memories of One of the All-Time Great Singers

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May 17 marks three years since Donna Summer died unexpectedly, having kept her illness a secret to even those she regarded as close friends. Though her passing was widely reported at the time, the coverage was limited in scope, as so much of it boxed in one of our most virtuosic vocalists as the “Queen of Disco,” essentially burying her with a mirrored ball tied to her feet (which she would have loathed).

I was troubled that so many of the obituaries were dry, fact-based lists of her accomplishments, wholly lacking in heart, failing to convey the true measure of her spirit or cultural impact. I knew Donna and worked with her over the years. On this anniversary, I want to share my feelings about her in a way that more vividly and emotionally reflects her legacy.

My first memories of meeting Donna have the dreamlike quality of one of her 20-minute musical suites. It was 1989, a good year for Donna Summer, who had just scored her first huge hit in several years with “This Time I Know It’s For Real,” a worldwide, multi-format success. I knew the chart positions in every country because at the time I worked as an assistant to the head of public relations at Warner Music International, Donna’s label. One of the best parts of my job was to occasionally look after artists while they were in New York for promotion. With Donna, this never felt like work because she and her husband Bruce Sudano were real people: down-to-earth and kind.

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One afternoon my boss was busy and asked me to accompany Donna and Bruce to the Roseland Ballroom for a radio show soundcheck. This was what was referred to as a “track date,” meaning that Donna would be singing live to a pre-recorded track to promote the album Another Place and Time. That was the first time I heard Donna Summer’s voice live, and it was a musical moment that still produces intense euphoric recall. Donna was fairly unassuming, and hadn’t been noticed much amidst the environment of chaos that filled the room. And then she began to sing.

The track for “Love’s About to Change My Heart,” the album’s second single, began with a hallmark Donna Summer-ballad intro. At first, her voice was lost amidst the ballroom’s din: “I never needed someone/Cause I always led a life of my own.” By the third line, I noticed the energy began to change, heads whipped around, immediately identifying the unmistakable sound of Donna Summer. The song continued, building, growing, Donna standing with one hand on her hip, casual, in jeans with a big hat, big smile, and that sound just emerging from her body with seeming effortlessness.

The room had become hushed, the rapt silence creating an atmosphere of reverence and respect. She gave hand signals to the sound guy to adjust her levels: a secret language. The rest of us just stood and listened, rather stunned. “How does a person even do this?” I remember thinking. The voice: clear, brilliant, throbbing, thrilling. By the time the song’s rhythm track kicked in, a group of disparate people, many technicians (who generally don’t give a shit) had become a Donna Summer audience.

At the song’s crescendo, each note moving up a half-tone on the scale, until it reaches the payoff, the money note: “Love’s about to change, change, change, my… heart.” I looked at Donna’s face, which seemed to say, “Nothing to it,” but to the listener it was everything; the moment was sublime, the essence of Donna Summer’s artistry. She sang like Fred Astaire danced.

Though Donna Summer was synonymous with disco, there was so much more to her stylistically. To listen to recordings like “Hot Stuff,” “Cold Love” or “Protection” (which was written expressly for Donna by Bruce Springsteen, a fan), to name just a few examples, is to hear authentic rock ‘n roll vocals: shredding and balls to the wall. To hear her recording of the Billy Strayhorn standard “Lush Life,” her own Giorgio Moroder/Pete Bellotte swing era-tinged collaboration “I Remember Yesterday,” or her recording of Evita’s “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” is to hear a theatrical voice of exceptional power and interpretive acuity (Donna got her start on stage, in the German production of Hair).

To listen to the 1982 Quincy Jones-produced album Donna Summer, especially its first single, “Finger On The Trigger (Love Is in Control),” as well as her subsequent single, “Mystery of Love,” is to have the odd sensation of beholding the complete chassis of the Michael Jackson Thriller-era pop sound, only the car’s exterior is now regally personified by Donna Summer and the hood ornament is a sparkling “D.”

After the disco juggernaut was snuffed out, radio changed and Donna’s career continued as she experimented with other musical genres, scoring some of her biggest hits, like “She Works Hard for the Money” and the exuberant, reggae-flavored “Unconditional Love” in the post-disco era. Of course, anytime she even opened her mouth, no matter what came out or what year it was, the result was a number one dance record. Like the concept suggested by the titles of two of her albums, I’m A Rainbow and Crayons, Donna’s musical curiosity and diversity allowed her to paint in many colors. It’s no surprise then that she was also a fine artist of notable skill. I remember helping to plan what I think was her first major art show in New York during that first encounter in 1989.

There were three separate periods in my music career where Donna and I orbited each other and I am so grateful for each and every memory. But first, for me and for so many other people, Donna’s music was the soundtrack of my adolescence. In junior high school, not an easy time, Donna’s voice comforted me and consoled me as I dreamed of nights on the dance floor that I was just a few years too young to live out in real life. Her music transported me to light of New York City and Studio 54, just 35 miles away, but so much farther than that if you were an unhappy teenager.

Instead of dancing at the clubs, I danced around my bedroom. In the winter of ninth grade, as I obsessed about my lack of popularity and redecorated my bedroom for the twentieth time, I wore out my copy of Donna Summer Live and More, communing with the outstanding die-cut album art and reading the label copy over and over as if it were a sacred text.

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I met Donna initially during my aforementioned stint at Warner Music. This was a period when I was also writing songs myself. Like many young people who worked at the labels, I was also pursuing my own musical aspirations when I wasn’t in the office. My commitment to songwriting and passion for pop music, coupled with my youth, made this a very heady time for me, as I was beginning to meet some of the people who I had heretofore only dreamed about. This made me particularly vulnerable to the social advances of Paul Jabara, who wrote the Oscar-winning “Last Dance” for Donna, and whose larger-than-life personality redefined pushy. He was an amazing force of nature: a Lebanese Mama Rose, and a songwriting God to me.

Paul had begun to call our offices trying to find out what Donna was up to (tracking someone down was much harder to do in the pre-digital era, you had to “call around.”) Sensing a sympathetic spirit in me (read “gay”), Paul poured on the charm, and without much hesitation, I disclosed that I had reason to believe that Donna and Bruce just might be going to Elaine’s, the legendary Upper East Side restaurant, after the Roseland show. Paul had been down, his productivity hamstrung by his battle with AIDS and a serious coke habit, none of which I knew at first. What I did know was that he seemed to crave the connection to Donna, his old friend, as a different kind of fix — a sort of talisman that he was still “hot.” I identified with so much of Paul’s desperation to be validated without understanding why. Drawn to his charisma, flattered by his attention, I agreed to bring him as my guest to Roseland. Thus began a short, but memorable, friendship.

Paul was a trip. Everything was completely over-the-top with him, and even though I later found out he was already pretty sick, you couldn’t easily tell. His enthusiasm was infectious. Hanging out with him, you could see how his pushiness coupled with his talent resulted in such great success. He had that amazing blend of pathological determination, unwillingness to compromise, and a need to be acknowledged that I’ve only recognized in other people who are carrying childhood trauma like heavy backpacks through their lives.

After the show, Paul said, “Okay, sweetie, let’s go to Elaine’s.” At this, I panicked. “But Paul, I can’t; I wasn’t invited and if my boss finds out she’ll fire me. ” I was frightened of my supervisor, and with good reason: She was territorial and terrifying. “Don’t worry, kiddo, you’re with me and if anything happens I’ll say I brought you. Besides, don’t you want to have dinner with Donna Summer?” The truth is I wanted to have dinner with Donna very much. I also wanted to have courage like Paul Jabara, so I borrowed his. The resulting meal was the first time I had ever had dined with a star.

When we got to Elaine’s, Paul said hello to its owner, Elaine Kaufman, who personally whisked us in to the room and led us to a preferred table where Donna held court. I’d never been to a restaurant where there were famous people anywhere but in pictures on the wall. I noticed something magical about the energy in the room, as if I had crossed over into some other universe where everything looks the same but is somehow just better. It seemed to me that the air was imbued with magic, and all the things you dreamed about as a sad kid that would make you feel less awful about yourself had actually fulfilled their promise.

Donna seemed surprisingly happy to see Paul, and completely unsurprised that I would be there, which struck me as odd; never having been around celebrities socially, I was unacquainted with the casual dynamic of posses and hangers-on. Paul sat me right next to Donna, who treated me immediately like an old friend. In that very moment I stopped caring about what my boss would say, because in that second, and perhaps for the first time in my life, I felt exponentially less terrible about being me. David Munk from East Brunswick, New Jersey was sitting at Elaine’s with Paul Jabara and Donna Summer! This might be accurately regarded as the first time I experienced the drug-like effect of celebrity or, to be more specific, proximity to celebrity.

Donna asked me if I liked the show and wanted to know how I thought it sounded from the audience, which blew my mind. Had I had stepped into a dream where all the pain of my childhood was seemingly ameliorated by my simple proximity to Donna Summer? I looked around the table at six other gay men who, no doubt, felt the same way I did, but I also felt some bitchiness: They envied my preferential seating next to Donna.

At some point during the meal, the conversation came around to a subject that seemed painful to Donna, the alleged homophobic comments that she’d made about AIDS being God’s revenge on gay people. Of course, I had heard the rumors which had been repeated so many times they seemed to have acquired an air of legitimacy and, what’s worse, had had a negative impact on Donna’s career, upsetting her core fan base to such an extent that some had turned their back on the woman they had once regarded as “the Queen.”

Paul practically screamed to me, “Look at this table, David,” with a huge gesture pointing out six gay men, one well-adjusted husband and Donna Summer. “I ask you, is this what the dinner table of a homophobic person would actually look like?” He had a point, but then, I’d never believed the rumors in the first place. “Really, David,” Donna said, her voice quiet and touched with sadness, “I love everyone,” she added defensively, “I would never, ever make a comment like that.” I thought it was odd that she felt compelled to set the record straight to me, a starstruck assistant. “No woman in my position could even function for a day without gay men in her life. I love my gay friends.” “You see,” Paul added, “She never said that about gay men. She loves us.”

I saw Paul periodically after that. I would go over to his apartment and he would make me spaghetti and listen to my demos while he did lines of coke off a table. He seemed lonely. He even let me hold the Oscar he had won for writing “Last Dance.” Even better were his critiques of my work: an Academy Award-winning songwriter tutoring me. “This is good but you have to bring the vocals forward, David. Always keep the vocals in the front of the mix,” he would remonstrate, “Always!” We’d listen to music and he’d tell me stories. He was an odd study in opposites: determined and defeated, embittered but hopeful.

No matter how sick Paul got, I’m certain his relationship with Donna always represented the apex of his success as well as his last, best chance of having another hit. When I found out three years later that he had died from AIDS, I was extremely sad. I’d had no idea. The news of his illness, in that terrible decade when it seemed like almost everyone died, put his emotional neediness in a different perspective, as well as making his adoration of Donna and his abiding hope for having another “great moment” all the more poignant. I didn’t understand him very well at that age, but looking back from this vantage point, after my own years of career highs and lows, I think I understand him better.

Now Donna is gone as well; I can feel the same heaviness in my heart that I felt when Paul died, for they were kindred. But there was a third person: Donna was also deeply connected to Bruce Roberts, who co-wrote “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” with Jabara and for whom I worked in the late 1990s. It was during that time in Los Angeles, via Bruce, that Donna came back into my life and I got to know her better and spend more time with her.

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I remember one day when I was in the office, which was in Bruce’s home. Bruce had gone shopping to Barney’s with Donna, an outing that I knew he relished (“David, you should have seen the faces of the staff behind the counter when Donna walked up, you’ve never seen such love.”) I was working at my desk and listening to Lena Horne’s recording of “Stormy Weather.” I remember the name of the song because I wrote in my journal that night. “Life is bare/Gloom and mis’ry everywhere/Stormy weather.”

Suddenly the vocal was strangely doubled. I thought my speaker wires were loose. “Just can’t get my poor self together.” Suddenly Donna sashays into the room, arms rolling in a waving motion and her voice — that voice — joining with the great Lena Horne and singing just for me. Donna was like that: spontaneous, playful and not afraid to use that vocal gift to have fun, to make a point, to celebrate life. Bruce had set the whole thing up so she would walk in and surprise me.

She wasn’t precious about her singing; she shared it freely and with no self-consciousness. I think she enjoyed what the power of her voice and what her presence could do in any context. I will always see her that way: in an imaginary spotlight in front of my desk in Bruce’s house, belting “Stormy Weather,” standing on Lena’s shoulders and giving me a “forever” moment, one that I can, in turn, share with you now.

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In these desultory days of auto-tune, when singer and pole dancer — two professions with formerly diametrically opposed skill-sets — are now, sadly, interchangeable, Donna Summer’s protean abilities seem even more impressive. Only in what’s left of the music business can you be a singer without really being able to sing. The fact that in addition to having that voice, Donna Summer wrote or co-wrote almost every one of her iconic songs is a detail that should be considered when properly assessing her place in history.

It is a fact that Summer was, along with the Bee Gees, the recording artist who most completely captured the essence of what was first affectionately, then derisively called “Disco” music in the late 1970s. But what gets obfuscated in yoking the singer to the “Queen of Disco” sobriquet is her true range as an artist. “Disco” died in 1979 because the homophobic, racist majority felt threatened by what was an unabashed celebration of African-American and gay urban culture, forcing the word disco to shape-shift into the less descriptive (and less overtly gay) “Dance Music.” Donna Summer was simply one of the best singers, period.

In the end, I think she’d like to be remembered as a great musician whose stunning, soaring voice brought joy to people all over the world for almost forty years. In order to do that, you can’t just define a trend: You must transcend it and create something that endures. Donna Summer’s music will endure. That is her legacy and it is everyone’s to celebrate.

A different version of this piece appeared in Stargayzing.com

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My New York Fashion Week Diary: Carolina, Tommy, Zac, Donna and More

New York Fashion Week, the biannual whirlwind of runway shows and presentations (the culmination of months that American designers have spent to create their vision for the next season), is upon us, and the big questions are too: what to wear in the snow? How long will it take to get to Brooklyn Saturday night? And, will the Marc Jacobs show start 3 minutes early as usual? As buyers, editors, bloggers, stylists and celebrities descend upon New York City from all over the world, it is a clear reminder of the energy and excitement that fashion creates on both the runway and the street. It’s February, which means we’re seeing fall 2014 collections, and at ELLE, we are already planning for our big September fashion issue. Here is a look at what I saw and did on Monday.

10 a.m.: If it weren’t so dark in the tents you could make out the army of dashing young men clad in @houseofherrera #herreralive t-shirts greeting us on our way into the Carolina Herrera show this morning. A refreshing way to start a Monday! A beautiful collection full of rich, earthy tones, pops of red, geometric prints, the most gorgeous opening silhouette and hints of transparency from someone who is truly the most elegant woman I know. She’s so smart, charming and funny, and really understands what women want when they get dressed.

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The finale walk

11 a.m.: At Tommy Hilfiger. The skirts are short, the jackets are long and everything, everything, is plaid. Including the long finale blanket dresses. The set is piney and snowy and I had the charming company of Michael Clinton (President, Marketing Publishing Director of Hearst Magazines) who told me he’s training for a marathon — in Antarctica, in three weeks! I was also happy to see my good friend Heather Vandenberghe from Tommy, but realize it’s definitely time for a drinks date with her as you can only cover so much territory standing next to the runway before a show. Side note; look for our upcoming piece in ELLE on Tommy Hilfiger’s impressive CMO Avery Baker.

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A pre-show snapshot Michael took of ELLE’s fashion news director Anne Slowey and me

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The snowy scene

12 p.m.: Alas, the real snow is tripping everyone up in Manhattan — it’s curtains up at my noon show, which is all the way downtown, but I’m still on 67th and Park, in front of the Armory where Tommy had his show.

12:30 p.m.: At the office since there was no way to make it downtown in time. I work on finalizing our April cover, have two impromptu hallway meetings where we actually get a lot done, answer as many emails as I can, eat a grilled cheese sandwich (in solidarity with my 11-year-old son) and run back to the car to get to my next show.

2:50 p.m. Arrive at 3.1 Phillip Lim, actually early for a 3:00 show, which is at Skylight at Moynihan Station, inside the iconic James A. Farley Post Office across from Penn Station. I love the way Phillip played with proportions; the bold hits of color he injected in the collection and the big vests and belt buckles.

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4 p.m.: Rachel Dratch and Alan Cumming open Kenneth Cole’s show with a funny short film in which Kenneth Cole — gasp — invokes the name of another designer. The show was styled by ELLE’s own creative director Joe Zee and I have to say he did such a great job — showing how a little styling can take beautifully cut basics and turn them into something street, sexy and sophisticated all at once. I spot my former neighbors Chris and Christina Cuomo having fun with Michael Strahan and Jon Bon Jovi, who have both coincidentally told us their secrets in our Cherchez la Femme column.

7 p.m.: Zac Posen’s show is in a small, intimate venue: almost hushed in a way. The hair and the styling both send me on a trip to the past of my very glamorous stepmother (the first of three — is a fourth currently in the works? I digress…) who wore caftans to the country club during the day and smoked cigarettes out of lacquered holders and wore her platinum hair as high as possible — but with no visible hair pins. Zac’s dresses all have a sweeping quality to them, the gowns of course, but even the body-huggers: you must sweep into a room if you’re wearing one of these.

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One of the dramatic gowns

8:15 p.m.: This show marks Donna Karan’s 30th anniversary in the business, and her impressive body of work over the past three decades is definitely something to be celebrated. The clothes are feminine and sexy, but mixed with that urban edge and grit that is both very New York and very Donna Karan. Our fashion news director Anne Slowey tweeted that it was “the Vagina Monologues.” (The invite said The Journey of a Woman. Being one, I was happy to ride along.)

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9:30 p.m.: Barneys New York dinner to celebrate their amazing spring 2014 campaign — Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters, which features 17 transgender models — and the accompanying film, both shot by Bruce Weber. The film is incredibly touching and thoughtful, and lovingly shot. It was inspiring to hear their stories and such a pleasure to be there and support this important project. After watching the film, I sit down to enjoy a late supper with my beautiful and serene seatmate designer Maria Cornejo.

11:45 p.m.: Home. Check the mail, the email, the children, the locks. Goodnight!
Style – The Huffington Post
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