She’s a renowned fashion designer, but when Donna Karan travels out to her home in East Hampton, New York, the last thing she wants to do is dress up.
“I hate getting dressed,” she tells PEOPLE in the new issue, on stands Friday. “Look at me, I’m wearing a piece of fabric. That’s all. I don’t think of clothes when I come out here. I stay in my yoga clothes all day.” Luckily, the vibe she’s created for her “Spa House”—one of the four homes on her East Hampton compound—is totally chill: She has her own yoga studio and a spa complete with a massage table and steam room.
Though Karan has other homes in Manhattan and Turks and Caicos’ Parrot Cay, her Hamptons spa house “is very significant,” she says, because she built it right before her husband, artist Stephan Weiss, passed away in 2001.
“He was the architect, and I was the decorator,” says Karan. The nearly all-white space is decorated with Weiss’ art, statement furniture she picked up from Bali, and artisan pieces made in Haiti for her Urban Zen line. Floor-to-ceiling windows and screen doors create an unimpeded panorama of the bay. “This view is like floating on water. It’s like having a big boat,” she says.
Coming out to this home is particularly calming for Karan, who documents her spiritual odyssey in her new memoir, My Journey. “I wake up early… the first thing I do is yoga. That is of primary importance,” she says. “…What I love about this house is it has a spa energy and a very zen-like feeling to it, whereas my New York apartment is very black-and-white, very graphic and very urban.”
After this summer, Karan has earned her right to relax; In June she stepped down as chief designer of her namesake company Donna Karan International to focus on her philanthropy and her lifestyle line Urban Zen. “I’ve always lived my life by the fashion calendar,” producing collections in September and February each year, she says. “This is all going to be very new to me.”
But will she embrace the party culture of the Hamptons now that she’s got a new schedule? Not a chance. “I’m here for the nature,” she says. “I thought nobody could find me here and that’s why I moved here. When Puff Daddy moved here I figured that was the end of my silence.”
For more of Karan’s interview and exclusive photos of her East Hampton home, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday