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Fashion designer turned humanitarian Donna Karan on Wednesday night hosted the third Stephan Weiss Apple Awards in New York, a star-studded ceremony she first launched in 2011 in honor of her late husband and business partner Stephan Weiss, who died of lung cancer.
This year’s honorees included Hillary Clinton; Nadja Swarovski, an executive board member of her family’s crystal business; and the late Sandy Gallin, whom Andy Cohen described to The Hollywood Reporter as “a great friend” and “probably the biggest talent manager ever in Hollywood.” The namesake of the just-announced Sandy Gallin Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program at UCLA died of cancer early this spring at age 76, leaving behind a client list that had included Barbra Streisand, Cher, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger and Michael Jackson.
Award recipients are change-makers in the culture, education and healthcare arenas, the three pursuits of Urban Zen, Karan’s decade-old foundation and lifestyle brand, which occupies the storefront next to Weiss’ studio.
Guests such as Hugh Jackman, Bernadette Peters, Christie Brinkley, Helena Christensen, Kenneth Cole, Diane von Furstenberg and Huma Abedin, vice chairwoman of Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, first enjoyed cocktails in a loft space dominated by a black bed on a geometric wooden platform, part of Urban Zen’s furniture collection. Adjacent doors opened onto a garden terrace, its trees adored with crystal ropes. Dinner was served down two flights of stairs in a large dark gallery replete with ivory candles and orchids.
“It’s easy to be grateful when things go your way, but when things don’t, how you find the resilience in the face of setbacks, how you call on the inner strength that you search for — how you stick with it [is what matters],” said Clinton, after an introduction from former Women for Women International CEO Zainab Salbi. “Listening to Donna tonight, her gratitude shines through. So, I hope that all of us will draw inspiration from her as we think about what more we can do.”
Vera Wang, Clinton’s friend and the designer of her daughter Chelsea’s wedding dress, spoke with THR about the last election cycle at the event, saying of Clinton: “She definitely proved herself in terms of her experience, her work ethic, what she was willing to do. It’s not small talk to run for president. It isn’t a small task to be Secretary of State, either, but the fact that she made that effort twice in her public life and political life is extraordinary. I mean, it’s superhuman.”
Like Clinton, Swarovski looked forward in her speech. “I’m inspired by my children and what kind of world their generation will inhabit,” she said, referencing daughters Thalia and Jasmine and son Rigby. “I am grateful to align with Donna and Hillary on dedication to our collective future.”
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