Karan had staged a pop-up store in West Hollywood before. Now she’s setting down retail roots with a feel-good hook: Ten percent of the store’s net sales will benefit her Urban Zen Foundation. (Updated: A representative from Urban Zen kindly questioned our earlier characterization of the foundation and what it does, so let us simply suggest that if you're curious, you're welcome to explore the website yourself.)
The new store's three buildings — two where furniture, clothing and accessories are mixed and one that houses a beautiful kitchen — form an L-shape around a private garden area. Karan's low-slung, minimalist furniture is on display inside and out, including enormous teak sofas loaded with enough cushions and pillows to outfit a yoga studio. Like the sofas, the dining tables and chairs are made of teak and exude a world-traveled ease.
But against the proliferation of woods — the ceiling beams, the dark-stained floors, even a pair of primitive-looking wooden boats that are propped up near the entrance — the store also features some less expected materials. Karan’s huge bean bags are made of neoprene, and beaded Haitian necklaces are made of recycled cereal boxes. Artist Joscelyn Himes’ hand-dyed throw pillows are finished using shibori, a Japanese dyeing technique.
As for that kitchen? It’s not part of the shopping experience. Karan plans to use the space frequently for entertaining when the New York designer is in Los Angeles, and the ease and elegance of an on-site cooking facility is her minimalist alternative to ordering takeout.