PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: Donna Karan’s passion for Haiti is well-known. On Friday, the designer drove that point home again when she and Urban Zen hosted a luncheon in Manhattan in honor of Haiti’s president, Michel Martelly, as well as its prime minister, Laurent Lamothe. The location was Tutto Il Giorno in TriBeCa, which is owned by her daughter Gaby Karan and son-in-law Gianpaolo De Felice.

Among the guests were Tracy Reese, Kenneth Cole, Kay Unger, André Leon Talley and Marla Maples.

This story first appeared in the June 23, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Donna Karan had presented Martelly with an award at the Happy Hearts Fund Gala the night before, and brought the politician to the downtown eatery for a reason. “I wanted to show him Haiti in New York…to see how it integrates into the sophistication of New York,” said Karan, pointing to the restaurant’s Haitian art, crystal light fixtures, tobacco leaf vases and candlesticks. “My daughter emptied my entire place to bring these here,” she added.

Martelly took that notion symbolically. “The most important thing is the fact we can sit together and think about Haiti, and the fact her daughter is taking things out of her closet or store,” he said. “As we sit here and talk about Haiti, we take the beauty of Haiti out of closet.”

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