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HELPING HAITI: Donna Karan opened up her Urban Zen Center in the West Village on Tuesday evening for a celebration of Dr. Paul Farmer’s book “Haiti After the Earthquake.” On hand were President Michel Martelly of Haiti, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Wyclef Jean, Olivia Wilde, Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor.
A phalanx of security officers kept some VIP guests, including J. Crew Group chief executive Mickey Drexler, cooling their heels outside the event for an extended period as Martelly gave interviews. The Haitian president later skipped out of a planned panel discussion, to the chagrin of event organizers.
This story first appeared in the September 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
However, attendees kept the focus on the country’s ongoing recovery efforts. “The most important thing to know about Haiti is the potential of the artisans. I always say, if you have the chance, get on the plane and go to Haiti,” said Jean, who is an ambassador at large for Haiti working on education and job creation issues. He was dressed in a Giorgio Armani jacket, Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo pants and Prada shoes.
“I want to get all my designer friends down there. We’ve got to get the [apparel] production [in Haiti] going and we will,” said Karan, who visited the country earlier this year and has been an ardent supporter of reconstruction programs there.