Donna Karan and Hugh Jackman
January 22 at Donna Karan's Urban Zen (aka Stephen Weis Studio), NYC


It turns out Hugh Jackman has some pretty good Donna Karan stories.

At her Urban Zen studio last week he recounted that Peter Allen -- whose portrayal in Broadway's "The Boy From Oz" won him a Tony Award -- knew the young designer when she was just starting out.

"She had designed this gold sequin top he wanted," Jackman recalled as Karan and Vogue editor Anna Wintour chuckled nearby.

"He said: 'It's gorgeous, I want it. Get your filthy hands off it, I'm taking it!' So Peter Allen was Donna Karan's first client."

Jackman was the brightest star in a celebrity crowd that included Martha Stewart, supermodel Iman (inexplicably wearing shoes two sizes too big), designer Nicole Miller and Carson Kressley who had turned out to see "Nomad Two Worlds," an exhibition by artist Russell James to celebrate the city's annual "Australia Week."

Also turning heads were young Brandon Walters, the child star of "Australia" whom Qantas flew in for the tourism-promoting week, Donna's look-alike daughter Gaby Karan DeFelice and New York socialite Alison Serafim, whose stunning cheetah fur coat left a trail of guests gasping "can-it-be-real?" in its wake.

New York lf8 studios founder Lisa Fox -- the daughter of Aussie billionaire Lindsay Fox, who was also there -- led the auction to benefit the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, which helps Aboriginal communities. I jokingly asked her what the bidding would start at for the Christmas-ornament-sized pearls around her neck. "About a million dollars," she said without missing a beat. "They're my mum's!"

Jackman was his usual wry self as guests enjoyed dinner looking out on Karan's magical snow-covered roof garden. So how does he feel about snagging People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" title, he was asked for probably the millionth time.

"Brad [Pitt] has really let himself go," he joked. "But no-one has taken this title seriously since Burt Reynolds."