SEVEN BROKEN PIECES: Donna Karan should have checked with her astrologist prior to hitting the slopes in Sun Valley, Utah, on Friday. The designer, an avid skier, was attempting her first “heliski,” in which she took a helicopter up a mountain and then attempted to ski back down. Unfortunately, she broke her knee in the process. Karan maintained a sense of humor about it, even after rushing back to New York to undergo surgery to repair the damage. “I’m now focusing on midcalf-length skirts and hospital wear,” she joked from her hospital bed. “Definitely, flat shoes are in, and crutches are going to be the new accessory.” Karan is expected to fully recuperate within six to eight weeks, but will have to stay on crutches during the process.
TANSKY’S TURN: Allen Questrom, chairman and chief executive officer at J.C. Penney Co., seems to enjoy life on the dais. Last week, he spoke at a Dallas business luncheon sponsored by Southern Methodist University, and on Thursday he’s set to chair a Phoenix House luncheon honoring his friend Burt Tansky, president and ceo of The Neiman Marcus Group. Tansky will receive the Phoenix House Public Service Award, along with Paul Bass, vice chairman of First Southwest, a securities firm. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan is a past recipient. New York’s Phoenix House Foundation oversees one of the nation’s top nonprofit substance abuse programs. Tansky is chairman of Phoenix House of Texas.
WORK ETHIC: Employees at Yves Saint Laurent Couture, facing a transfer to a new company this summer following the retirement of the legendary designer and the shutdown of his business, are not exactly rejoicing in their fate. Paris sources said the 150 employees are concerned about working for manufacturer SLPB Prestige Services, which plans to recruit new designers to exploit the savoir faire of the YSL ateliers. Some employees worry that if the new project doesn’t succeed, they may end up losing their jobs a year or two down the road. The French union CGT is also casting doubts about the transfer, saying it’s giving “false hope” to employees. French tycoon Francois Pinault, who since 1999 owned and funded YSL’s money-losing couture house via his Artemis private holding firm, last month sold YSL Haute Couture to SLPB, for a symbolic euro, or about 90 cents. SLPB has not yet disclosed which designers or clients it will tap to keep the 300 hands busy.
GRAB BAG: Photographer David LaChapelle was so inspired by Liza Minnelli’s wedding party gift bags that included a T-shirt with her silk-screened image by Heatherette that he commissioned designers Richie Rich and Traver Raines to design one for Elton John’s birthday party in Los Angeles last week. LaChapelle ordered 50 shirts and started handing them out at the party and, according to one witness, Elizabeth Taylor grabbed five of them on her way out the door.