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March 7, 2014

A Montage of luxury, invention and indulgence

Elyse Glickman/4.53

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The venue (the Contessa Ballrooms at the lavish Montage Hotel Beverly Hills) may be new for the Secret Room, but the approach to pre-Oscar Primping is the same. In the case of the event, that’s a very good thing, as far as successful Hollywood formulas go. The headlining charity, once again, was the SPCA LA, focused on animal rescue, adoption and medical attention throughout Los Angeles County. One animal rescue story underscoring the SPCA LA’s mission is Sadie, whose fight for life has captured the nation’s heart.
   Celebrities were not only out in full force, but there fluffy friends were also welcome, as were vendors focused on the well-being of dogs and cats. Sadie herself is a fan of GooFurr, a cat medication delivery system that is also safe for dogs, developed by pastry chef and cat rescuer Barbara Cappelli. Real salmon and other natural ingredients mask the odour and taste of the pill, making medicine and vitamins a treat and a reward for the pet, rather than a chore for the human owner.
   The most buzzed about device (literally!) was Voyce, a collar that in some ways allows a dog to “talk” with a monitor that tracks its vital signs and current health situation. The inventors note a version for cats is in the works, given the strong reaction the dog version is currently receiving. It’s fitting the launch is timed with the Oscars, as the whimsical notion of a collar allowing a dog to talk was first introduced in Oscar-winning animated feature Up!.
   Toys for kids ran the gamut from the German-made Hape Toys to the eco-friendly Jetson Bike that’s apparently as easy to learn to ride as the one you had as a kid—but much faster. There were also exclusive vacations to Timbers Collection, which have second home properties throughout the world, from the American Rockies to Mexico, the Bahamas, Italy and Ireland.
   There were also household essentials that allow people to transform their homes to a paradise of their own. Exotic offerings included Divine Design’s Indian-made home accessories and Pacific Green Furniture’s palm-based wood pieces from Fiji to Rocket Farms’ fresh potted orchids, which all guests received on their way out of the suite. The icing on the cake was a coffee and bar outfitted by Wolfgang Puck (down to its sassy, Oscar-themed signage), which paired nicely with pastries from LaBrea Bakery.
   Of course, the Secret Room would not be the top draw it is without handcrafted jewellery and new beauty products hitting the market-place.
   Louisville’s Ronaldo, the wizard of wire, was back in Hollywood after a turn at the Grammys, charming guests with his 14 ct and sterling wire bracelets. The featured Love Knot is made up of undulating flat wires Rolando says represents melding together of a woman (depicted with smooth gold wires) and a man (diamond cut silver wires). The metaphor of the design reflects the strong bond between couples because the textures and colours work together. La Corza’s collection of sterling silver pieces is inspired by nature and architectural details that were at once bold and streamlined. Dallas-based Betty James Jewelry, meanwhile, showed chunky, earthy pieces could also be feminine and formal. An outfit with Betty James’ hand-wrought stone pieces would be nicely finished with hand-made rope sandals from Nomadic State of Mind.
   The brand 2xist has marked time by evolving from a small line of men’s underwear to a full-blown sportswear collection that includes a just-launched line of watches designed in tandem with award-winning industrial designer Jason Wilbur. The architectural timepiece (which looks great on many women, too!) features a unique, three-hand movement that floats freely between a transparent case and delivers in a selection of fine finishes and colours.
   Beauty products included high-tech skin care from Atzen, Biodara to cause-minded Curology Shampoo (raising awareness and funds for Breast Cancer) to Lipinc which keeps pouts perky and polished all day.
   Celebrities in attendance included James DuMont (Dallas Buyers’ Club) as well as cast members and crew from Oscar-nominated American Hustle (Alan Baumgarten, Judy Becker, Crispin Struthers), 12 Years a Slave (screenwriter John Ridley), The Artist (Ken Davitian), Captain Phillips (Chris Mulkey, Chris Burdon), top athletes (from the NFL and NBA, and talk show presenter John Salley) and Stephen Kramer Glickman from the TV series Big Time Rush (no relation).—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor











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