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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Karan’s Karma

We have followed the Donna Karan guide to life for years now and agree completely with many of her principles, such as (a) the bodysuit is a wardrobe essential, (b) the shoulder is the sexiest spot on a woman because it never gets fat, and (c) there is nothing at all basic or boring about black. So when the designer—and serious student of yoga—announced her plans for the Urban Zen initiative last year, we were instantly intrigued. Here was a woman serious about sharing her life philosophy with the world. The program, a series of conferences, charitable efforts, and educational incentives, was founded through Karan’s desire to bring the worlds of Eastern and Western medicine together "in a workshop environment to exchange knowledge, ideas, and explore effective strategies for going forward." The inaugural event, held at the downtown Manhattan studio named for Karan’s late husband, sculptor Stephan Weiss, included a yoga class taught by Rodney Yee as well as a panel led by Dean Ornish, M.D., Oprah’s Dr. Oz, Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman, and the heads of Beth Israel Medical Center and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

And to nourish a slightly more materialistic need is the Urban Zen retail store, which is stocked with tribal jewelry, organic clothing, and the cultishly collected Como Shambhala Invigorate shampoo and shower gel products. A perfect blend of geranium, lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint, the products were previously only available at the Como resorts (including Parrot Cay, where Karan has a home). Urban Zen store, 705 Greenwich St.; 212-206-3999


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