Donna’s Journal

FIVE DAYS IN LONDON

I've just returned from a whirlwind trip to London, England, and I’m excited to share some of the highlights of my journey with you.

London is a very special place to me - it’s where I first opened my stores, both DKNY and Donna Karan. I traveled with my team from Donna Karan to meet with press, connect with friends and find inspiration.

I loved being able to share all parts of my story with the London community: my life as a designer, of course, but also my love story with Stephan, the Connecting the Dots book and my mission and initiatives with Urban Zen. Everyday was packed, but I kept up with my diary so I could share the highlights with you here.

Day One:

I took the redeye from LA (wanted to spend as much time as I could with Barbra before flying off!) and landed in Heathrow on Tuesday morning - three time zones in three days! Even with the jet lag, it felt wonderful to be back in London; I hadn’t been back since the Olympics (read more about that here) and was eager for more time in one of my favorite cities.

True to form, we hit the ground running. After checking in at the Halkin (my home away from home whenever I’m in London. It’s a gorgeous little hotel that is a part of my friend Christina Ong’s Como lifestyle destinations), I met with my dear, dear friend Maureen Doherty who owns Egg, one of my favorite London boutiques. My long-time friend and colleague Patti Cohen and I joined Maureen for lunch where we had pizza - a little bite of NYC in London Town.

Next, I was in hair and makeup and then off to Harvey Nichols for a press tour and fashion show for Donna Karan.

Afterwards, I took the Donna Karan team to Nobu where we enjoyed gorgeous food and inspired conversation - some of my favorite things! It was a perfect way to end our first day.

Day Two

I started my morning by taking in one of the most exquisite views of the city. The first thing on my itinerary was an “Eye to Eye” interview with Bloomberg. The whole conversation took place in the London eye, offering a truly unique way to see London’s diverse beauty.

After, we came back to the hotel for brunch with the London Telegraph. Then, off to the DKNY store on Old Bond Street. My worlds really came together here. The first thing I saw was the beautiful display of Haitian paper mâché hearts in the DKNY store window, I loved it! I also adored the creativity happening at the craft table set up in the middle of the store where some seriously styled Londoners were decorating hearts.

It felt great to be back in my DKNY store, as this location actually opened before my store in New York (I have Christina Ong to thank for that). It’s truly an extraordinary space and it made my day to see wares from the Urban Zen Haiti Artisan Project interspersed throughout store. If you haven’t already, I invite you to watch this video to learn more about our work in Haiti.

Next, we headed over for a Connecting the Dots book signing at my Donna Karan store on Conduit Street. There, I had the opportunity to share my story of Urban Zen and Stephan. I spent hours signing the books and connecting with new and old friends.

Day Three

I started my day off with a little shout out to Urban Zen. The team and I headed back to the Donna Karan store to meet with CNN where we chatted about Urban Zen and Connecting the Dots. I loved the way the piece turned out, watch it here and tell me what you think!

Next, I met with George and Oliver, a creative duo from Uxus. We started our inspiration tour at the DKNY store and then strolled around some of the most interesting and innovating spaces in the city. From Dover Street Market to Shoreditch (a neighborhood I’m now obsessed with! The street art alone is brilliant. I have so many ideas for DKNY… My head is spinning!!)

After we wrapped our afternoon with Oliver and George, I headed back to the hotel to rest for a moment before heading back out to 50 Saint James. Marc Jacobs threw Kate Moss a stunning party to celebrate her new book. I was able to catch up with many familiar faces, including Elizabeth Saltzman, who I’ve worked with for years. I also saw Philip Green and we connected on so many levels - from retail to travel. And, of course, it was so, so great to see Marc - he’s like my child, my son! I adore him.

Day Four

After a more relaxed start to my day, I met up with entrepreneur George Hammer who took me on a tour of his ingenious event spaces – both venues were in old, historic churches and both had a beautiful holistic quality presented with such creativity. I kept thinking of all of the ways we could connect and collaborate; from brilliant fashion shows, to yoga, to UZIT training, to an exhibition with Stephan’s art, to a cafe and juice bar… I mean, the possibilities seemed endless!

Next, I was able to connect with my friend Marie Blanche Brillenbourg, who we all call Blanca. Together Blanca and I went to visit a newly constructed wellness center called, Grace. I was absolutely blown away by their approach to wellbeing, it truly reminded me so much of my work in healthcare at Urban Zen.

We spent the rest of the day seeking out creativity and inspiration by visiting some of my favorite shops, streets and neighborhoods in London.

Day Five

Our final day in London! It truly was very difficult to leave (trust me, this was supposed to be a three day trip! I kept extending my visit because I just couldn’t find the time to fit everything in!)

After packing up, checking out and saying farewell to my friends at the Halkin, I had a few hours to do some last minute shopping and sightseeing. We packed every moment with as much of the city as we could before heading back home to NYC.

My whole experience in London was as jam-packed with activity as it was with inspiration. I have so many new ideas and I am looking forward to weaving them into my creative process.