Regardless of the economic climate, the gifting goes on in Hollywood. As we gear up for the biggest week of the year with this week’s Oscar madness, here’s a sneak peak at the recent swag suites and celebrity lounges that went down in Hollywood at this year’s Globe’s and Grammy’s.
The Word is out
It’s no secret that The Secret Room Events, owned and operated by business partners Amy Boatwright and Rita Branch hosts one of the best celebrity lounges in the city. The longstanding partners hosted an invitation only Golden Globe Gifting Lounge at the dangerously hip and glamorous SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.
In order to enter the lounge and get in on the goodies, celebs had to make a donation to the African Millennium Foundation Empowering the Powerless and Venice Arts. Once in, guests were greeted with eco chic Saint Francis Couture, cruelty-free, pleather African bags loaded to the gills with goodies.
The lounge was filled with new brands looking to break in alongside longstanding well-established brands that cater to the elite.
El Leon Spa relaxed Hollywood shoulders while Pevonia skincare offered skin care advice with their top of the line products and treatments. Other skin things included old school Palmer’s Coca Butter, British diva Eva Taylor’s cutting edge skincare line and Whish Body, which sent the traveling talent out with Whish on the go travel packs.
Hollywood mamas slipped in to One Mama T’s, Yoga sandals footwear and grabbed Hairlocs who swears that some of the biggest manes in Hollywood have used her extensions. Those not on the Platinum stage’s stripper pole enjoyed the on site seductive spins and Elini’s one of a kind, designer made cookies.
Gerard Butler and other A-listers were sent on their merry way with an invite for a 4-night stay at The Elephant Safari Park in Taro Bali.
That’s just the beginning.
The Hills are Alive
Kari Feinstein once again produced a stellar event at Zune on Beverly Boulevard for Hollywood’s youngest and hippest stars. She always manages to get the regal reality stars and LA’s latest It girls to take a stylish spin in her swag suites. This year was no different.
Hill’s hottie Laura Conrad with Lo in tow whipped through as did swag savvy Audrina Patridge. Hef’s ex Bridget, with a boy in the background, giggled her way through the goodies. Still the Queen of the swag suite, Paris herself was in top form grabbing with reckless abandon. The place was hopping with several Hollywood hotties from Ms. Molly Simm’s, hot housewife Felicity Huffman, dancing Diva Edyta Sliwinska, Twilight’s Ashley Greene, Enthusiastic Cheryl Hines and everyone’s Office crush Melora Hardin.
South Beach skincare was there, swearing to have the best skin supplements and products on the market. Cellceutical had several savvy skin things including a new sun block sure to keep the aging at bay. Reebok rocked the elite feet with their latest footwear while Original Retro Brad had hoodies and sexy retro T’s with sports and pop icons ready to take up residence on Hollywood’s most famous pecs and chests. Vivtar also flexed their retro with digital cameras and more modern digis for night and aquatic action.
If you couldn’t resist the Fry Girl’s to die for mini donuts, Dr. Rey’s shape wear was there reigning it in with his under gear while Usana sent everyone on their healthy way with Probiotics and Melatonin for the sleepless celeb.
Madison & Mulholland, the brand masters, has long been in the business of product placement, event production and celebrity banding. Their Golden Globe’s Lounge was a classic nod to old Hollywood, held in a stunning estate in Beverly Hills. British beauty Joan Collins and daytime diva Deirdre Hall were on site and in on the action.
There was a long list of top products on site from Keratin Complex for the Hollywood hair and DEX cosmetics for that unforgiving Hollywood close-up. In addition there was Lash Factor for long lashes, Forever Lily Perfume, Reuse eco chic jeans, Charlie Lapson bags and TC shape wear, which feels like body bondage. The line is sure to give Spanx a run for their money. If that didn’t do the trick, Herbsaway, green tea supplements handed out full kits of delicious herbs for slimming and anti-aging.
On the decadent deck were trips being offered to the stunning Antigua and Barbuda, Hansen’s Hollywood cakes, Marley coffee, Paso Roble’s own Eagle Castle Vineyards, Casa Noble’s elite tequila, Shaker’s vodka’s old school martinis and Tracy Reinhart’s Adult Chocolate Milk. The ACM was such a hit they were invited to be the beverage of choice at the Haiti benefit in Miami during Super Bowl weekend. Ex Pres Clinton and everyone’s favorite Queen, Ms. Latifah loved it.
What was most impressive about the event was the give back factor. As it was just day’s after Haiti’s catastrophe, the host of the house had a loop going in the background of her work with orphans in Africa and internationally. She wasted no time as she was busy planning a last minute event for the Haitians the following week.
In addition, young movers and shakers in the making, One is Greater Than None not only makes leisurewear, hoodies, T-shirts, and sweats, the two teenage girls donate profits to RAM to free girls sold into slavery.
In true Olympic spirit, a team of Canadians from Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto and Manitoba got in on the celebrity sport of swagging and doled out what they know best, Canada.
Oh Canada showcased a select group of Canada’s top artisans and designers Winnipeg-based Heather Stewart of Lilyfield Cakes and Swish Model Management’s Liz Crawford organized the Canadian lounge at Beverly Hill’s Peninsula Hotel.
Vintage Bling was eco chic taking a bit of the past and bringing it forward with a fashionable, interpretive twist. KaTonGiovi was also in on the eco scene with her fine Bridal Boutique for hair and hands. So, if you opt to save the planet or a least a few flowers you can have a bouquet created for the event or one recreated to commemorate it. It’s perfect for the same sex marriage and no one does it better than Canada, the perfect I Do backdrop. High Tea Bakery darling mother daughter duo has long catered to the lesbian community creating specialty cookies for many a same sex wedding for any I Do diva.
Grace Anne of Lake of the Woods was on deck, the pitch perfect alternative for your honeymoon or simply a chic retreat for those that want a French cuisine served with their great outdoors.
There were several treats on site, from Constance Popp’s artisan chocolates from Manitoba, Ricework’s guiltless chips, Siku vodka, The Ice House’s award winning and divine ice wine and of course Lilyfield cakes, which cane in several fashion forward oversized keepsake commemorative boxes. Hollywood’s Halle, a big fan of the brand had a series of boxes made for her recent film crew as her big thank you.
Creatively speaking C5 art works were doling out the goods, as was the young and stunning Celeste Brunel with her Celestial designs. Last but far from least were Sweet Padtooties, a fashion savvy version of Canada’s first nation’s Mukluks. We all left coveting a pair or two. It was cozy couture.
A Chic a Boom Boom
Hollywood hot mama Jayneoni, a stylist to the stars throws one of the most successful suites in the city. She hit on a hot Hollywood nerve years ago when this initially kicked off, as there is no greater accessory in Hollywood than a baby. Kids are couture in the land of the LA. Ever since Angie built her brood, all of Hollywood has been jumping on the baby bandwagon with reckless abandon. Jayneoni’s annual Boom Boom Room for the Globes has many of those in the celeb set rolling out of Crown Plaza with weary bellman behind them toting out their wagons of swag.
Whether you are a breeder or not, one can’t help but appreciate the force of feminine creativity in the room as many of the businesses were started by stay at home Moms wanting to be in business, while maintaining their baby business at home. Regardless of your interest, the creativity and the eco chic options that are developed from this brood are impressive.
The Serene Sling, Booby Trapper, AbnoMend, Chef Antonio’s Chicken Soup for the Soul – Kids in the Kitchen, ChicPapoose, Episencial’s healthy skincare for babies and kids are but a few of the Golden goodies that were dished out.
My favorite goodie was the Timi & Leslie bags. They are fashion forward baby bags that can be worn pre, post or sans a baby as they are super savvy diaper, hand, work, computer and or travel bags. The interior of the bag is designed for Moms on a mission or an urban, hot Mama on the go.
Tres Tres Chic
The ever-French Nathalie DuBois-Sissoko knows a thing or two about throwing a Hollywood swag suite. She has taken her Lifestyle Empire and has set up camp in many international film festivals and events across the globe from Cannes to Berlin, Venice & Dubai. Her international sensitivities are reflected in her suites, as she tends to showcase an array of international designers and brands. Needless to say, she and her Senegalese husband put on one of the most culturally diverse and exciting suites in the city.
The DPA suite was held at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills and sponsored by Hollywood Reporter. This year, feeling a bit somber after the Haitian catastrophe, DuBois who typically doesn’t mix gifting with philanthropy gave back to the cause, Hollywood Unites for Haiti as one of her longtime employees, a Haitian, was directly affected. Everyone was only too happy to lend a hand.
The Dutch company Good Luck Horse Shoes handed out eco chic old horse shoes that have since been blinged into statement making necklaces. This is a perfect gift for a film or TV crew, a sports team or a business. It is fierce, fun and fashionable. St. Regis was on-site wooing weary celebs to get some post awards R&R in the French Polynesian Tahiti.
On the fashion front, Toronto’s Starker’s Corsetry with its exquisite corsets and LA based Tristan +Trista with her buttery leathers wowed the crowds. For the frequent flyer’s, Eva Varro slipped many a celeb into their sexy from fitting line that is pitch perfect for city or sea. Eva Varro has quickly become my go to line for travel. If you are looking to pack a punch on the fashion front, this is your line.
For those avoiding the flash of the Papps, Marchon’s own Diane Von Furstenberg retro shades were a step back to the Studio 54 dance floor and time.
There was an endless array of lifestyle and beauty-based treats. Topanga based Massage Express, a sexy duo do double duty to ensure you are walking on sunshine by the time you leave. New York’s Sphatika, one of my faves for jet setting skin handed out their famous travel kits. Sphatika’s high-quality, chemical-free line utilizes the elixir of quartz crystal in all their products. Kerstin Florian’s caviar line of skin care is made for the spoiled skin. Their rich night cream, daily moisturizer with SPF and their caviar serum will immediately give you that youthful Hollywood glow.
Brazilian Blowouts gave gift certificates out for their famed treatment at the Sunset Tower Hotel. Sisley provided makeovers and a bag of goodies to go while MD Lash Factor had food for lashes and brows, while Anasatasia, Oprah’s brow dive was on site creating the perfect arch and flawless Hollywood finish.
The Grammy Style Lounge is a definitive part of the Grammy season and week. It is, as stated, very style driven and tends to attract tiptop celebrity stylists who spin in, in search of that perfect ensem for the big night or the many events prior. In addition, celebs themselves drop in to get up close to couture themselves and the allure of the event as well.
Through the years I have run into John Legend, Earth Wind & Fir and Bono’s babe and wife of many years Ali Hewson, who was promoting her eco chic line Edun. This year the spin was a quick one with a fleeting look at international designers.
The highlight was kicking it with K Swiss, a longstanding fave of the music scene, Melamed belts, Moods of Norway and running into super star stylist Johnny Wujek who has been the mind behind Katy Perry’s kitschy and couture spins. He is now shaking up the Shakira brand. So look for that reincarnation. He’s an inspired soul.
No body does it better than Lash Fary of Distinctive Assets. He is a longstanding fave of the swag scene, loved by celebs, stylists and media alike. This year’s official backstage Grammy Lounge in honor of the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards produced by Distinctive Assets in collaboration with the Recording Academy took place at The Staple Center in downtown LA. The decadent event was sponsored by Moroccan Oil, which made it distinctively delicious from start to finish.
The Moroccan sponsor influenced the seductive décor. Housed in a Moroccan tent it was a bazaar full of fashion, top-notch products and bands. Moroccan Oil sent everyone on their way with a stylish over the shoulder travel bag full of their goodies sure to revitalize any stressed tresses.
For tech sexy celebs Vivitar had under water and night cameras or vintage digis, while Palm had their greatest communicator and Harman had the edgiest ipod deck yet.
Beauty was bountiful with Dr. Raymond Frye of Bling Dental with his 60 to 90 minute teeth whiteners to be used in the comfort of your home, yet far surpassing what is typically achieved in a dental visit. LANCERx Dermatology had spa like robes and a full line of gifts for the skin. Organasense swore to completely change the state of your face with their Australian certified organic line. One of my faves to date was Re-Fa Platinum Electronic micro current roller that replicates the body’s natural bio-current. The quick translation is if your skin is too tired to keep up, this handy dandy tool will whip things into shape in time. It’s an at home gym for the face.
Fancy Feast had treats for dogs and cats wrapped in a gift box complete with a Flip camera. Dan Ehrlich and his wife Jean Ehrlich provided Grammy snacks with their healthy Hippie Chips, Ciroc vodka shook things up and Marley coffee kept the place a buzzing.
LA Gear provided retro shoes with a bit of bling, while Motley Crew’s Nikki Sixx had his fashion brand, Royal Underground in the tent. Their cashmere sweaters are the perfect balance of masculine and feminine. It’s edgy elegance. Cape Cod leather had me at hello with their hip mix of computer bags and satchels made of soft seductive brown and black leathers from South America. Pro Poker champ Lee Watkinson was not playing. He introduced his new line, Hard Core Elegance to the fashion forward crowd. His silver statement makers are in fashion tune. It was music to my ears…
That’s a wrap!
Blogger Bio: Karen Loftus is a Comedian, Writer, Producer and Travel & Lifestyle Writer focused on Fashion, Food, Wine, Spirits & Golf. After globetrotting through The Middle East, Europe and Asia, entertaining Expats, execs, US troops abroad and theater savvy audiences around the globe at international theaters and festivals, award winning playwright, Tennessee Williams Fellow and international comedian Karen Loftus took a break from touring, slipping in to journalism, putting on the page what she once delivered onstage. www.karenloftus.net.
As a journalist, Karen found her definitive niche in travel writing, covering vino trends in travel and culinary and cocktail tourism. It was a coming home as her Irish grandparents ran a speakeasy, distilled their own spirits and ran many a famous pub.
This fashion forward foodie takes great risks and goes to extreme journalistic measures on the global road, parasailing, bungee jumping, four tracking and canyoning in search of the story. Karen is a travel addict and is most at home when she is away from it.
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