NEW YORK — Donna Karan celebrated the first 20 years of her business (as well as the launch of her new book “The Journey of a Woman: 20 Years of Donna Karan”) with a blowout at her Madison Avenue store Monday night that brought out celebrity friends like Sandra Bernhard, Bernadette Peters, Iman and Brooke Shields and business associates like Angela Lindvall, who stars in her ad campaign. A few guests were no more than 20 years old themselves, such as famous daughters Mickey Sumner, the offspring of Sting and Trudie Styler, and Lydia Hearst-Shaw. (Another pair of twentysomethings, Alexandra and Theodora Richards, showed up later in the evening.)
“They called me up and said they wanted to dress me and I said, ‘Woo hoo!’” exclaimed Sumner, who is studying fine art at Parsons School of Design. It was a rare night out for the budding Ford model. “I’ve been doing a lot of homework. You know, painting the New York skyline, sculpting my face in wax. I’ve got to go home tonight and finish that.”
Patty Cohen, Karan’s all-around wing woman, said they’d invited residents of the adjacent apartment building to stay in a hotel for the evening: two took her up on the offer; three went out to dinner on the company, and the rest were happy simply to be invited.
Though she was afraid her voice might go, Shields spent her evening off from performing in “Wonderful Town” — she recently took over from Tony nominee Donna Murphy — to fete the designer. “I call myself a renewal, not a replacement,” she admitted. “You’ve got to see it with me. It’s a happy show. ‘Cabaret’ was a little more depressing.” The actress added that it “was not really fair” that the New York Times came to review her early, “But I was on my game.”
Peters embraced Karan’s daughter, Gabby, and sat down for a quick pow-wow. “I knew Gabby when she was a little girl,” the Broadway veteran explained, and launched into her favorite Donna story: “When she came to my wedding, she landed in a helicopter. She came out of the plane wearing a floppy hat, sandals and her sunglasses. I’ll always remember that.” Then she was off to congratulate Shields on the Times’ rave review.
As for this evening’s moment in the spotlight, Karan grabbed a microphone in the center of the store to introduce the singer Andrea McClusky, who was recommended by pals Ingrid Sischy and Sandra Brant.
“We wanted to have the hottest everything,” Karan told the crowd. She turned to McClusky and asked, “Are you Scottish? Did you come from Scotland?” (McClusky, who said she’s more of a DKNY than Donna Karan girl herself, is based in New York and Paris.)
“I just came for you, darling,” McClusky responded, in a flirty, throaty rasp.
When the performance was over, Karan told McClusky: “You’re so hot.”
“I’m like a kid again,” Karan continued. “This marks a beginning and an end. It’s the end of one of the longest years in the last 20 years. Since we started working on the book, I’ve been pre-ing it and pre-ing it, and pre-ing it. Now, finally, it’s just it.”