Mother-and-daughter power team Donna Karan and Gabby Karan de Felice reveal the new Urban Zen in Sag Harbor.
What’s better than running a business right next door to your mom? Sharing one space, of course. Donna Karan and daughter Gabby Karan de Felice have previously helmed their respective business ventures in Sag Harbor—retailer Urban Zen and restaurant Tutto il Giorno—side by side, and are now happily under one roof.
From the moment you enter, you pick up a warm, welcoming vibe— infused with aromatic essential oils that transport you across the globe. In just five weeks, they have settled in together into their combined space. “It just happened,” explains de Felice. “You do not plan to meet the love of your life. It happened so quickly.”
Urban Zen’s new home is situated in the center of town but still set back. “We are elevated, so we are a part of the center of Sag Harbor, with a privacy component. It is the best of both worlds,” says de Felice. Her desire was to do something light and fun with Urban Zen. “My dream was to re-create the Corso Como, la Colette [Italian and Parisian retail shops], where there is retail and food. People could eat and drink, and also shop.
Artisanal products from Bali, Vietnam, Thailand, Morocco, South Africa, Peru, Haiti, Italy and other locations available for purchase
“This property, for us, is about people getting dressed, getting a bite to eat and coming together. It is becoming an extension of our home, where we have opened our doors up and have fun,” she says.
Urban Zen—offering womenswear, accessories, beauty and home decor, all artisanal, along with handcrafted products from Bali, Vietnam, Haiti, Italy, Morocco and more, curated by Donna Karan—will continue to be a place to celebrate with family and friends year-round. “It is a space where people come together. For me, it is about life, not just about clothes,” says Karan. “If you can’t sleep and go out in these clothes, I don’t want them.”
Tutto il Giorno, a partnership between Gabby Karan de Felice, and David and Gally Mayer, will serve its signature dishes created and executed by executive chef Agostino Petrosino. “We are trying to create a place where we can open our doors to the people here and make it light, fun and happy,” adds de Felice. “Our Hamptons experience is about boating, about being with the kids, and entertaining, which is a huge part of our life out here and why I fell into the restaurant industry,” she shares. Tutto il Giorno also offers Cestino trays of salumi, cheese and crudités to go, ideal for weekend boating jaunts.
Urban Zen furniture made in Bali
Karan’s community-minded ethos is well-known. Her Urban Zen Foundation’s mission is to “create, connect and collaborate to raise awareness and inspire change in the areas of preservation of cultures, well-being and education.” “There is chaos all around us,” says Karan. “And we do not know where to find the calm in chaos. More importantly than ever, the community is what counts. I think what Gabby and I show together is a family in a community.”
De Felice laughs. “That’s my mom, she wants to save the world. That is her passion. Addressing people. For me, I’m trying to push her to go back to dressing people.” Her laughter is so bright and energetic that you feel right at home with her instantly.
Gianpaolo de Felice, Gabby Karan de Felice and executive chef Agostino Petrosino
“We are looking to operate a business that is not based in the summer,” says de Felice. “It is about where you want to go and find a great book you want to buy, or where you want to try a great risotto with the best wild mushrooms from the local farm stand that carries them.”
True to Karan’s philosophy, it’s not just dining and shopping. Urban Zen hosts Self-Care Saturdays, with talks, conversations and morning meditation sessions each Saturday. Get your Zen on! 16 Main St., Sag Harbor, 631.725.6176, urbanzen.com
Photography by: DONNA KARAN PORTRAIT BY RUSSELL JAMES; ALL OTHER PHOTOS BY ERIC STRIFFLER;