8:00 A.M. I’m a late riser by my family’s standards. Sleeping is a luxury because since I was young, I woke up very early to go ice-skating. So I’m really not a morning girl. Once I complained to my friend Sharon Stone about it and she said, “I don’t think Picasso woke up at five in the morning to go farming,” so now I always say that. I need seven to eight hours of sleep. If I’m lucky, and it’s a weekend, I get 10. I wear Rick Owens T-shirts to bed. They are like my thermals, since I sleep with the room at near freezing temperatures, like a meat locker.
8:15 A.M. The first thing I do is check my iPhone and my BlackBerry. I didn’t have them two years ago, but now I’m a freak. I have a housekeeper who I consider a mother figure. She brings me breakfast in bed, either yogurt and fresh fruit or eggs and chicken sausage. If it’s a Sunday, for a treat I’ll have smoked salmon with brown bread and lots of lemon. My coffee is Jamaica Me Crazy by Wolfgang Puck—I’m so unglamorous. Then I usually lift weights, not much—two pounds and three pounds. It takes me a total of five minutes. I’ve also begun trying to meditate, which is the hardest thing I’ve ever learned.
8:45 A.M. I jump in the bath. Sometimes I put in some Johnson’s Baby Oil. I use a Clinique moisturizer on my face but that’s it. Most days I throw my hair back in a headband or a scrunchie. And that’s my morning regime.
9:15 A.M. Getting dressed is a whole thing for me. My closet is organized by tops, pants, and outerwear, but not a lot of dresses. Gowns are in another room because I don’t often dress formally, even though I design gowns. Like most designers, I have a uniform, and mine is a legging. And if it’s not a legging, it’s a pant that’s like a legging. They could be from Balenciaga or Givenchy, or from Danskin or my Kohl’s line. Then I throw on a T-shirt. After that I’m a complete outerwear freak. I work very hard to look casual. It’s deliberate to look like you didn’t try too hard, as my old boss Ralph Lauren would say. I never carry a handbag, just my BlackBerry and eyewear.
9:45 A.M. Then I’m off to work in my van. I’m on my fifth one; I keep each one for two or three years. I started because I could throw all my daughters’ stuff in it when they were younger. Everyone knows where I am because of it. It’s like a big signpost—here she be! I have two drivers, one for the first eight hours and another for the next eight. The van is my moving office. I have everything: a tiny pharmacy, a fridge, water, Swedish Fish, blankets and pillows, a sketchbook so I can draw. I always joke that if it had a toilet I could live in it. Everyone laughs and says it’s ugly, but I don’t care. I call it my jet, because I don’t have a private jet. Once, after a dinner for Hillary Clinton, there were two vans outside. I jumped in one, and three of the handsomest guys I ever saw drew guns. I said, “Oops, wrong van!” But that’s how Hillary rolls too.
10:30 A.M. I get to the office, and I run to the first fire that needs to be put out. It’s like having five kids: You run to the kid that is crying the loudest. We are like a family here.
12:30 P.M. I don’t go out to lunch unless it’s for business or a dear friend’s birthday. But I never miss a meal; I have to feed my brain. I go through phases with what I eat for lunch: I like sashimi with brown rice and vegetables, Chinese steamed broccoli with chicken and rice, or the artichoke salad or fish from Sant Ambroeus. At one point I was eating a slice of Ray’s pizza every day, and I never gained a pound on it. It’s not a bad thing if you squeeze out that excess oil. It’s so filling. I only drink water; I stopped drinking Diet Coke six years ago. That was the hardest thing I ever gave up.
2:30 P.M. I’m never in my own office; it’s just a nice fantasy. But I’m a sports fanatic, so if there’s a tennis Grand Slam, I have that going on the TV in there nonstop. What I’m really doing is dealing with all the different lines of product we handle: from poring over china patterns to small leather goods at Kohl’s. I usually don’t take phone calls during the day. I like to be extremely flexible and make myself available, so I’m usually roaming around—my brain is on 360-degree roam.
4:00 P.M. If my day is less frantic, I will steal away and go shopping or to a new gallery for a couple of hours. I collect clothes, and I’m everyone’s best client. I’ll go to uptown, downtown, wherever: Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Jeffrey, Prada, Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons. I also shop in men’s stores because I like to play with men’s clothing. I know that sounds weird but I do. For example, I’m a hat fanatic, though I have so much hair and my head’s so big that I have to wear men’s hats. I’m looking for everything—furniture, lighting fixtures, and books on fashion or art to inspire me. I’ve collected books for years. Now I buy them in duplicate because I am beginning my library in L.A.
6:30 P.M. My evening really begins when I take a long, hot bath. I light a candle, and I turn on the news and try to catch up. It’s when I can breathe from the day to the night, and that means a lot to me.
7:30 P.M. I go out to dinner five nights a week, and I’m pretty strict that it’s no later than 7:30. I go to Morimoto, Bar Masa, the Waverly Inn, the Beatrice Inn, and La Esquina. Uptown I do Crown or the Mark hotel. My new favorite hiding place is the Carlyle tearoom. I like to order a bunch of stuff, like smoked salmon and steak tartare. Sunday night is when I invite friends over. I’ve never liked Sunday nights since I was in school, so I have people over. It’s usually Chinese, home-cooked by my housekeeper, and it’s the best Chinese food in New York. It’s crazy the mix of people who come. They eat and they leave; people always say “I hate to run,” but I say “Go, go!” It means they are comfortable. I know that sounds backward, but that is my big claim to fame: I’m the hostess who actually makes guests leave!
9:30 P.M. When I get home is when I really work. My other office is my bed; I’ll lie there sketching. That’s my process: I can’t design without clarifying it in my mind first.
1:00 A.M. I usually go to sleep by one or two. My perfect day is really the way I live my life. I find that weekends get me a tad confused. I sleep later, I go to brunch, I go shopping. I’ll go to dinner and a movie. And I’ll hang out in the kitchen. You would never think it’s a fashion designer’s kitchen. There are two TVs. There’s an ice cream freezer, a soda fridge, and a healthy fridge. There’s the liquor thing, where the vodkas are kept ice-cold. We have a candy pantry, a cereal pantry, and a pantry for what I call “orange food”—Cheetos, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, all kinds of chips. I’m a chip freak. I’ll find a way to sneak a chip in with a cocktail—yes, sirree! It’s so fabulous, orange food.
As told to Elisa Lipsky-Karasz