GBK (Generosity & Being Kind)
What’s an award show season without Gavin Keilly and his GBK team (this time, teaming with veteran Hollywood publicist Nadine Jolson) going all-out at a fabulous location? As always, his event managed to strike a balance between generously plying celebrities with gifts, and getting the celebs to give some of their good fortune back to a number of diverse causes.
Familiar charities include the Best Friends Animal Society (www.bestfriends.org) and Make a Wish (www.wish.org), providing 18 year-old Phoenix, Ariz. resident Valentina Oliver (who suffers from sickle-cell disease) the opportunity to experience the Emmys as a nominee would, from the entrance via a red carpet to tickets to the Emmy telecast. Dream Center (www.dreamcenter.org) focuses on making safety and security a priority for those affected by poverty, homelessness, craving and piece abuse. AnnaLynne McCord was on hand to her favourite non-profit, the Somaly Mam Foundation (www.change.org/somalymamfoundation), dedicated to ending sex trafficking around the world. The One World Foundation (www.oneworld-foundation.org) partners with Baan Unrak (www.buconscious.com), a children's village creating hand-woven apparel in support of child sanctuary and education in rural Thailand. Smartly designed traditional trousers were gifted in exchange for donations and commitments to help the cause.
Fine products filling the various transformed event spaces rooms included Hot Rock Jewelry’s (www.hotrockjewelry.com) earthy designs and custom pieces expressly designed for the 2012 Emmys, Miracle Hydrate’s MH3 anti-ageing skin care (containing a proprietary Botox alternative), the SKN Spin Roller System (www.SKNSpin.com), exfoliating and reducing signs of ageing while maximizing product penetration), Stemtech (www.stemtech.com) anti-ageing adult stem cell nutrition and anti-ageing serum, Secret Agent Beauty’s (www.SAB.US.com) lip plumper kit, Beanpatch & Co.’s hand-wrought European infant and children's toys, and Mansion Fitness’s one-month memberships.
One thing we never get tired of is the Artisan Group (www.theartisangroup.org), the collective of young talents from across the country and the world creating wonderful jewellery, stationery, fashion accessories and accent items for the home. Though they have become one of GBK’s go-to product sponsors, the team always delivers something new and surprising. (See sidebar.)
Chic sunglasses and readers compelled us to give budget-minded brand Foster Grant (www.fostergrant.com) a fresh look, especially with Brooke Shields literally serving as the face for the enduring celebrity-look-for-less frames purveyor. The stylish readers we picked out in particular made that aspect of ageing all the more palatable. In the spirit of GBK’s charitable outreach, the company was also donating product and funds to charity based on what was gifted to celebrities.
Nourishment for the busy actors and guests came in the form of Yoplait Greek 100, Sabra, Mason Jar Cookie Company and Yazi Ginger Vodka, and Nulo Pet Products (for pampered canine guests).
The showcase must go on
Beth Beasley, who staged Monkeys in Pants suites during the gifting suite heyday around 2005, took a by-appointment, less-is-more approach to showcasing an interesting variety of items that ran the gamut from kitchen gadgets to Ipad essentials to cool jewellery and haute couture. Now operating as product placement studio Gotham House, Beasley takes a customized approach to showing the right new products to the right taste-makers at the right time in a streamlined fashion that cannot be duplicated even in the most crowd-controlled gifting rooms.
While the public areas downstairs at the W Hollywood were abuzz with GBK’s flashy doings and enthusiastic by-invitation crowds, Beasley offered a nice oasis from the dash and flash, served with a side of coffee and baked goodies from New York City’s Magnolia Bakery.
A chance meeting with Beth just before Fran Drescher’s Cancer Schmancer–Trash Cancer launch presented us with the perfect opportunity to see how Beth’s business evolved when we were invited back the next afternoon to see her posh suite-turned showroom. While Ireland’s Jacqueline Quinn’s elegant gowns and cocktail dresses provided some old Hollywood glam to the proceedings, there were also enticing silver jewels from Lori Frantz-Koenig (a favourite of television presenter Mary Hart and the Entertainment Tonight crew) and fashion-meets-function solar Ipad cases and keyboards by Kudocase. We also thought the new reader tablet device Key Ingredient (keyingredient.com) was also genius. Though you can always download recipes on your Ipad with a wifi signal, there is something liberating about something that is intended specifically for the cook down to its customizable features.
Getting ourselves “connected”
Though we at Lucire have been privileged to keep receiving invitations to many of the aforementioned suites and pre-awards lounges, the ones staged by Connected Celebrity Gift Rooms were not previously on our radar—even though they have been around for full decade. A fellow reporter called this event to our attention, thanks to one sponsor, Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles, who got permission to extend a limited number of invitations to the press. When we got to the 2012 Emmy edition of their jam-packed, product-filled extravaganza, we discovered right away that our being allowed in was indeed a rare privilege, with very few members of the press approved for the guest list.
With a lot of noise, DJ music and wide cross-section of beauty products, accessories and gadgets, you could argue the theme was simply pure fun—the one thing many of the products we tried had in common. It also did not hurt that we did not have to stand in a line to enjoy a nosh from the now world-famous Pink’s Hot Dogs stand. Pink’s food truck road show and members of the founding family (immortalized across the US in Bank of America commercials) added real flavour to the event’s food section. The chili dogs went great with Lynnae’s pickles, as well as quell our hunger for some solid comfort food in the middle of a very long (but wonderful) day.
Some of the product highlights included the Not Your Mother’s line of hair care products, ICTZN’s novel military inspired hoodies and jackets, B Toffee, TopOff Rings (funky rings that allows you to show off your team spirit as well as open your beer or soda), Kate Mesta’s bejewelled dog tags, Belegenza’s luxury hair care, an expressive collection of casual silver, crystal and semi-precious stone jewellery by Marissa Newman, PonyLox’s pain free hair accessories, and, to carry the goods home, colourful totes and backpacks from Belvah (www.belvah.com). •
What’s an award show season without Gavin Keilly and his GBK team going all-out at a fabulous location? As always, his event managed to strike a balance between generously plying celebrities with gifts, and getting the celebs to give some of their good fortune back to a number of diverse causes
The art of charity
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