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April 16, 2014

GBK’s 2014 MTV Movie Awards’ celebration: tech and trends

Elyse Glickman/11.29


Leave it to event planning master and philanthropist Gavin B. Keilly to transform SLS’s ballroom into a more intimate space showcasing great charities and some choice must-haves for summer.
   As usual, funds and awareness were raised for some worthwhile charities, including Los Angeles Youth Network (which aids abused, neglected and homeless adolescents in becoming sufficient through street outreach, food, emergency shelter, a transitional living programme, and educational enrichment programmes), the Santa Monica branch of the American Red Cross, and Autism Speaks.
   Lambda Legal, going strong after four decades, provided press a real scoop on Day 1 of the suite about their West Coast Liberty Awards, taking place June 13 at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire. Scandal’s Dan Bucatinsky (who won an Emmy for his work as James Novak, elevating and broadening America’s conversation on LGBT issues), will be honoured with a Spotlight Liberty Award. He joins an industrious group that includes Lance Bass, Margaret Cho, Kathy Griffith, Alan Cumming and Judith Light. The awards show bolsters Lambda Legal’s efforts to encourage equal and fair treatment of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
   Even with a more relaxed vibe than GBK’s dos for the Oscars and Golden Globes, the spotlight is, true to form, on luxuries big and small that bring convenience and style to one’s home and social life. A coffee-table book by internationally renowned interior designer Sandra Espinet is perhaps one of the most aspirational gifts offered at the suite—pages and pages of global chic put together by a woman whose travels and life story are as enviable as the rooms she’s created for her top-tier clientèle. Onkyo USA provided a nice aural balance to that with its sleek and chic headphones merging precision hi-fi technology with an IOS-certified 6N copper cable designed to control media playback and accept or reject calls from compatible Apple devices. Its titanium drivers reproduce an exceptionally wide dynamic range, resolving hidden details and creating a spacious atmosphere.
   Fashionistas who prefer their earbuds more discreet would appreciate Audiopark’s Audiowrap, fashioned with beads and bling that camouflage the buds and coil up into a snappy bracelet. Qupid, meanwhile, provided fashion-forward shoes made from “vegan” leather, and Thursday Friday translated designer bags and runway-inspired graphics into a canvas carry-all format. Adding to the list of eco-friendly chic was Pono Woodworks’ Surfrider watch, transforming rare Hawai‘ian koa wood into a stylish, unisex beach to boardroom timepiece.
   After a short hiatus, the Artisan Group was back and better than ever, with a display of gorgeous, statement-making baubles, bracelets, earrings and accessories. While the luck is in the draw of whatever surprise goodie bag you are given, there were some particularly wonderful things in mine from Lucinda de Castro, Shirleybird Jewellery, Andrea Designs, Firefly Myst and Gamiworks.
   Nibbles on hand included decadent treats from Barry’s Gourmet Brownies, Jackson’s Honest Potato Chips and wonderful spirits from Deep Eddy Vodka, an Austin, Texas brand made with real ingredients and 10 times distilled vodka. Guests received a four-pack of Deep Eddy Vodka (50 ml each of Straight, Ruby Red, Sweet Tea, Cranberry). Ripped Cream, a natural protein coffee creamer, offered a jolt of flavour and energy to balance out the caffeine buzz of one’s favourite coffee.
   Celebrities on hand during day one included Omar Epps (House, Resurrection), Paige Turco (The 100), Tiya Sircar (The Crazy Ones), Tara Holt (Californication), Percy Daggs (the Veronica Mars movie), Rebecca Mader (Once Upon a Time), Shannon Beador (the newest cast member on The Real Housewives of OC), Caitlin Carmichael (Chosen), Carlitos Olivero (The X Factor USA), and Donna d’Errico (Baywatch).—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor

















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April 14, 2014

We still want our MTV: the Secret Room celebrates the great outdoors

Elyse Glickman/9.35

A decade ago, the MTV Movie Awards was Young Hollywood’s kick-off party to summer. In more recent years, it became the unofficial Oscar season “after-party” with its strategic move to April. That said, the pre-MTV Movie Awards festivities planned by Rita Branch and Amy Boatright of the Secret Room (which made the SLS Hotel’s Garden Terrace a ‘Secret Garden’, for all intents and purposes) ended up being a great summertime kick-off anyway, thanks to a myriad of fantastic, healthy and environmentally friendly must-have products for the forthcoming summer months.

   It is also fitting that their cause célèbre this time around was California Wildlife Center (above), a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife. The Center fulfils this environmental operative by providing expert medical and rehabilitative care, community outreach and education, habitat protection for animals running the gamut from bobcats and mountain lions to birds and reptiles. Since 1998, CWC has experienced a steady increase in animal patients, caring for more than 32,000 wild animals, and in the process, educating communities, homeowners, teachers, students and businesses about protecting California’s environment.
   While requisite awards’ show glamour was provided by Terani Couture and coloured diamond jewellery from Leibish & Co., and 2Xist was back with its wildly popular upscale watch collection and colourful summer socks, there were also many stylish and sensible products for wardrobe and home sure to keep celebrities, trend-setters and even their pets cool throughout the summer—figuratively and literally.
   With sunglasses and the perfect summertime bag being on the top of everybody’s shopping list, it was impossible to miss the vibrant bags from Lola Blue, beautifully crafted from upholstery fabric in colour combinations that ran the gamut from neutrals with pops of colour, to more daring bags that captured a variety of moods, from a southwestern colour palette to eye-catching pastel hues. Which one to pick? That’s a tough one, but I opted for the Shea, a hobo style just big enough for an Ipad, camera and wallet. Long Beach-based Kahoy, created by Ralph P. Santos, offers a small but stunning collection of sunglasses and prescription frames hand-made from bamboo, textured wood and tasteful plastics. It was challenging to select among the line’s 12 retro-chic styles. While I went with the aviator-inspired Boracay with in tortoise, I wavered between those and the prescription Makati frame.
   Baylee Nasco offered pet beds and blankets that would probably have dogs and cats in a similar quandary, with their soft fabrics and beautiful colours. And while foodies would agree the Takeya Flash Chill Iced Tea Maker is an attractive accessory for summertime home entertaining, picking a flavour of tea is another thing, or six to be exact (Classic Black, Tropical Black, Fresh Green, Green Mint, Hibiscus Pomegranate and Coconut Lime Rooibos).
   So much to choose from. However, Rita and Amy also made sure they featured plenty of great products that stood on their own. These included Aviva Hair revitalizing supplements, tank tops from the new LATS clothing line launching May 9 in Los Angeles, SteelSeries Professional Gaming Gear (after all, there were boys in the room!), Shame on Jane jewellery by Kimberly Pauly, Coquette Lingerie and Herbalosophy Shampoo.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor











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April 2, 2014

Emma Watson, about to graduate, ponders the next stage of her life

Lucire staff/10.05


Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Above Emma Watson at the Berlin première of Noah last month.

Gracing the April issue of Elle Australia, Emma Watson gives readers the opportunity to realize that despite all her success, she just wants to be normal, and she doesn’t want to be criticized for calling an ‘eraser’ a ‘rubber’, a mistake, she tells Elle, she made during her first week at Brown University. In a few months, she will graduate with a degree in English, and she admits, she has no idea what the next chapter of her life is meant to look like, yet she’s optimistic about the whole ‘post-grad situation.’
   ’Look,’ she tells Elle’s Mickey Rapkin, ‘I just want to know exactly what the next 10 years of my life is going to look like, OK? And to have it organized on a colour-coordinated calendar. Is that really too much to ask for?’ And as most of her graduating class would ask the same question, it becomes clear that, although Watson has graced the film and fashion worlds, she is just like any other “almost graduate” deciding where the next chapter of her life is heading, or at least, trying to figure it out.
   But Watson admits she is jealous of other actresses, whose rise to fame have been less embarrassing to hers, citing her role as Hermione Granger as her greatest, yet not her most stylish, role.
   ‘There are these actresses who have emerged in the last year or two and they get to emerge as this complete human being,’ adding, ‘And I’m so jealous! Because everyone has seen me with my terrible haircuts and my awful teeth and all the terrible things I wore and said.’ But that’s the beauty of Watson, she’s so candid and honest about her own insecurities and afflictions that she seems unable to understand why people love her now as the style icon she is, but Watson worries that her best days are already behind her.
   ‘I’ve got so much left to do and prove,’ she tells Rapkin, adding that her absence from the screen wasn’t due to the lack of offers, but, rather the lack of a challenging character. ‘I was being offered roles that I didn’t feel were very complicated. Women that were one-dimensional. Roles that required me to be one thing, but real women never are.’
   Watson admits that she doesn’t want her real life to happen on screen, remembering a quote she once read by Elizabeth Taylor, ‘She had her first kiss in character on a movie set. It really struck me. I had this sense that if I wasn’t really careful, that could be me. That my first kiss could in somebody else’s clothes. And my experience could all belong to someone else.’ The desire to form her own identity is something that Watson emphasizes, she wants to create her own memories, and not just play the role. As the interview progresses, you get the sense that Watson is just trying to find out who she is, without all the Hollywood hype, the movies, the fashion labels; none of that seems too important to her. Emma Watson is on a course to find a “normal” life, but, as she tells Rapkin, finding answers can be tiresome, but finding a safe place is the ultimate goal.
   ‘If I’ve learned anything, it’s to stop trying to find the answers and certainties.’
   Her desire to feel safe and balanced we all share, even Watson admits her quest is a little mad, but she won’t give up on trying to build a “normal” life. ‘You might think I’m crazy,’ she says, ‘but I was like, “I need to find a way to always feel safe and at home within myself.” Because I can never rely on a physical place.’
   Whatever happens in her quest to build a “normal” life, we hope that Watson continues to dazzle us with her acting performances and that she finally discovers what all graduating students search for: the next chapter of her life.—Snjezana Bobič

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March 7, 2014

A Montage of luxury, invention and indulgence

Elyse Glickman/4.53


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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March 3, 2014

12 Years a Slave scoops Best Film at 2014 Oscars; Lupita Nyong’o wins Best Supporting Actress

Lucire staff/9.00



Top Lupita Nyong’o in a Prada silk georgette gown accessorized with Fred Leighton gold jewellery. Above Lupita Nyong’o on the red carpet.

The tension over the 86th Academy Awards ended as 12 Years a Slave was awarded Best Picture on Sunday, though Gravity managed a tally of seven (including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón) and Dallas Buyers’ Club took the two male acting gongs for Matthew McConaughey (in the lead) and Jared Leto (supporting). Cate Blanchett won Best Actress of Blue Jasmine, while the most talked-about celeb of awards’ season, Lupita Nyong’o, won Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave.
   Host Ellen DeGeneres’s Twitter photo with Bradley Cooper and other celebrities broke a record, being re-Tweeted over 2·3 million times (at the time of writing) since it was put on the social network.
   Below are the remaining winners from this year’s Oscars.

Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jones, for Her
Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, for 12 Years a Slave
Best Animated Feature Film: Frozen
Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom
Best Foreign Language Film: La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty)
Best Visual Effects: Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould for Gravity
Best Film Editing: Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger for Gravity
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity
Best Costume Design: Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby
Best Make-up and Hairstyling: Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews for Dallas Buyers’ Club
Best Production Design: Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn for The Great Gatsby
Best Sound Mixing: Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro for Gravity
Best Sound Editing: Glenn Freemantle for Gravity
Best Original Score: Steven Price for Gravity
Best Original Song: ‘Let It Go’, from Frozen, music and lyric by Kristen Anderson-López and Robert López
Best Animated Short Film: Mr Hublot, directed by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
Best Live-Action Short Film: Helium, directed by Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson
Best Documentary Short Subject: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, directed by Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed

Red-carpet arrivals

Glamour on the red carpet

Baby bumps on the red carpet

Jennifer Lawrence trips again

Oscars 2014: all about the selfie

Jared Leto wins Best Supporting Actor

Lupita Nyong’o wins Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett wins Best Actress

Matthew McConaughey wins Best Actor

12 Years a Slave wins Best Film

Highlights


Above Ellen DeGeneres’s Twitter photo with Bradley Cooper in the foreground, which had been re-Tweeted over 2·3 million times.

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March 2, 2014

A good day well spent for a million better nights

Elyse Glickman/12.16


By selecting the Taglyan Complex, just across the street from the Motion Picture Academy Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, planner and fellow journalist Kathy Duliakas assured her pre-Oscar gathering would be a hot ticket for celebrities and journalists. However, with a mix of intrepid entrepreneurs, a civilized lunch, a relaxed atmosphere and a significant charity’s new initiative benefiting thousands of disadvantaged American children, she created a daytime “pyjama party” that was both thoughtful and memorable.
   Invited celebrities, entertainment professionals and press were strongly advised to donate to the Pajama Program, overseen by founder Genevieve Piturro and LA chapter president Lindsay Smith, to jump-start the new 1 Million Good Nights campaign, to attain a million sets of new pyjamas and books by December 31, 2015. To further accelerate the campaign, Carter’s, America’s leading brand of young children’s clothing, agreed to donate a brand new pair of pyjamas to Pajama Program, for every celebrity who attended the event and another 1,000 pyjamas for each and every social media post about the event. (Naturally, we were on board with our Tweets in force).
   Attendees heard the call and responded, as the one-day event generated nearly 550 Tweets and garnered over 5,100,000 timeline deliveries, which will result in some very deserving children given a brand new pair of pyjamas.
   Duliakas responded in kind, noting that in the heat of awards’ season, ‘We all get caught up in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but it’s very important we remember there are those in need. It’s heartwarming to see the overwhelming support that I’ve received from the celebrities who attended my event.’
   The various new and returning vendors were also caught up in the spirit of generosity that far transcends products and services. One of the more inventive sponsoring products, Circuelle, a luxury lotion that transforms the practice of breast self-exams into a more pleasant experience, was so inspired by Carter’s pledge that they wanted to donate one mammogram to an underprivileged woman for each celebrity who stopped at their table. As a result, Circuelle donated 50 mammograms to the Conejo Free Clinic in Thousand Oaks, California.
   Our favourite stalwart lines helping out several suites this season were back: Twisted Silver, with more of its new natural stone pieces and modern cameo necklaces, sleek cocktail attire from Single by Galina Sobolev, and Maleku Jewelry with extraordinary rough precious stone statement jewellery that would have you rethinking diamonds as your best friend. Other casual clothing lines that focused on comfort include New Orleans-based Prêt-à-Porter Designs, Wear Luck yoga wear from Dallas, Texas, and BAM Bags, which seemed to have the audience seeking non-leather handbags zipped up.
   New and compelling indulgences for the body included skin care from event co-sponsor Zensation, state-of-the-artlight therapy from Dream Spa (now available in Studio City, Calif.), sensual new couples’ delights from Kama Sutra, organic body care from Herban (including the coveted Sugar Mud facial scrub) and Yuki Sharoni’s hair care (one of the pioneering salons bringing Asian hair straightening to Hollywood).
   Besides the sumptuous Mediterranean fare from Taglyan’s Divine Food & Catering, there were other treats that included KAH Tequila, Zing Vodka, non-alcoholic Skinnygirl Sparklers and insanely delicious hand-crafted chocolate from Ze Chocolate Lady that brought some of the biggest trends in gourmet chocolate from Europe to southern California, but in her own all-American way.
   Celebrities having a good day, and helping children attain better nights in the future included Kelsey Scott and Ashley Dyke (Oscar-nominated for 12 Years a Slave), Emily Bergl (Oscar-nominated for Blue Jasmine), Dustin Kerns (Oscar-nominated for The Wolf of Wall Street), Craig Borten (writer for the Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers’ Club), Crispin Struthers (Oscar nominee, Best Editing, American Hustle), Helen Hong (Oscar-nominated for Inside Llewyn Davis), Cas Anvar (Diana, Argo), Brighton Sharbino (True Detective, The Walking Dead), Marilu Henner, Gia Mantegna (Empire State, The Prince) and Lyndon Smith (Parenthood).—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor




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Wounded Warrior Project Style & Beauty Suite: a true-blue salute

Elyse Glickman/11.14



Karen Ray

In a way, it was fitting that the turnout for the Wounded Warrior Project Style & Beauty Suite at the historic Avalon Hollywood on February 28 was most impressive, even with biblical flooding and other karmic payback for the too-nice weather southern California enjoyed. However, by the looks of things, it would take a little more than a little rain to hold back hearty, deserving people who have weathered bigger storms in the Middle East and their return to the homefront.
   Boy band IM5, Amy Jean Davis, Angelique Cabral, Carlos Bernard, Elliott Yamin, Gloria Loring, Griffin Gluck, Jake Pavelka, James Kyson, Jen Lilley, Jenifer Lewis, The Voice’s Katrina Parker, Kate Flannery, Kate Linder, Kenny Lattimore, Marisa Coughlan, Nestor Serrano, Sabrina Bryan, Vincent M. Ward, and Wendy Davis were among celebrities attending the Wounded Warrior Project Style & Beauty Suite, organized by (the aptly named) True Heart Events founder Amy Malin. However, in this forum, the celebrities were there as much to give as to receive. It was truly wonderful to witness veterans and their families getting the royal treatment from salons, spas, clothing designers and representatives from companies producing fantastic household products as well as get to tell some of their stories and how Wounded Warrior Project helped them move forward.
   Servicemen and women, along with their spouses and children, were outfitted with chic clothing from IIJin, gorgeous and eco-friendly designs from Ali’s Collection out of Chicago (featuring sparkling druzy stones, crystals and agates) and Mujus (refined Peruvian palm tree seed jewellery in yummy, mouthwatering colours). Oscar Blandi, whose fantastic products are sold at Sephora boutiques, offered hair touch-ups and samples of their latest hair-thickening products. PackIt’s beautifully made and affordable lunch bags were not only stylish, but can be frozen so food stays fresh for extended hours out in the field. Accessorizing those bags were BKR San Francisco’s silicon-coated glass bottles, which are currently the rage among yoga fans and sold in the US at Anthropologie stores.
   The pampering was also a focal point. Facials and massages from Spa del Rey were top issue, as was a men’s grooming station using products from SheaMoisture, Zumer Sport’s carryalls (also featured at Matthew and Mark Harris’s fantastic WOW Creations’ Oscar Suite), made from recycled baseballs, basketballs and other sports equipment, was a lovely way to wrap the day up for families in attendance. US Vietnam veteran Allan O’Donovan, owner of Burbank’s Ciao!Cristina, meanwhile, fed the troops and boosted morale with his traditional, homestyle Italian cooking, served by young, enthusiastic Iraq War veterans.
   Commented Malin, ‘We think it was really special that we had an older veteran helping to honour the next generation of veterans. We are so excited to be working once again with the amazing team at Wounded Warrior Project on another meaningful event. The mission of Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is to honour and empower Wounded Warriors.’
   Mission accomplished? Yes, sir!—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor

To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.


Albert Evangelista


Buck Lewis


Karen Reuter


Albert Evangelista


Buck Lewis


Karen Reuter


Igor Spektor


Igor Spektor


Karen Ray






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February 21, 2014

Doris’s day (in celebration of romance, fashion and the movies)

Elyse Glickman/13.26


Doris Bergman has done it again, cramming an astonishing mix of philanthropy, fashion and famous folks into an afternoon at the sixth annual Valentine Romance Oscar Style Lounge & Party at West Hollywood’s Fig & Olive restaurant.
   The inventive and innovative organizer of Oscar month’s first major style lounge welcomed celebrities such as Eva La Rue, Rosa Blasi, Obba Babatundé, Angela Bassett (and her handsome husband Courtney B. Vance), former Oscar winner Louis Gossett, Jr, Oscar nominee Robin Mathews (make-up artist for Dallas Buyers’ Club), Cheech & Chong, Elizabeth and William Shatner, Carla and Lou Ferrigno, Dot Marie Jones (Glee) and wife Bridgett Casteen Jones, Tia Carrere, Maria Conchita Alonso, Kevin Farley, Chelsie Hightower (Dancing with the Stars), Kate Flannery (The Office), Illeana Douglas, Tommy Lee Davidson, Richard Brooks and Lisa Vidal (Being Mary Jane), John Savage, Charlie Bewley, Jaclyn Betham and Peter Parros (The Haves and Have Nots), Jeremy Luke (Mob City), Katie Wagner and other respected talent to a lovely afternoon to not only receive some interesting fashion and health essentials, but also do their part donating goods, time and money to Wednesday’s Child–the Dave Thomas Foundation.
   The charity highlighted its initiative benefiting teens aged 16–18 in foster care, providing for their financial and educational needs as well as finding them permanent adoptive homes. Los Angeles Fox News anchorwoman Christine Devine, long the local celebrity spokesperson, was on hand to promote the cause in her signature stylish and witty way.
   Wednesday’s Child’s adoption information and services cover several US cities, including Washington, DC, New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta. While that organization is making a difference beyond Hollywood, it was interesting to note many of the genuinely cool products for wardrobe and home were also benefiting a number of charities. Hillel Rzepka and his Handmade Hearts were teamed up with Yes to Hope—a fine choice as it was a Valentine’s Day event, though everybody could use a little love throughout the year.
   Ooh La Bra takes heart coverage a little more literally with their bejewelled bra straps that transform necessary cleavage coverage and support into a fashion statement. Created by Lisa McKenzie, who hails from Louisiana, the collection ranges from the affordable $26–$40 for its general collection to sterling silver and diamond straps that retail between $1,500 and $2,300). Besides providing a neat and functional alternative to necklaces, McKenzie’s company also supports (no pun intended) You Night breast cancer survivor runway shows that raise money as well as self-esteem for the cause.
   Simply Eartha is a home and accessories developed by her daughter, Kitt Shapiro, that not only keeps the smart and sassy singer and actress’s spirit alive—the candles and shirts are adorned with Eartha Kitt’s words of wisdom to her daughter—but also the Colon Cancer Alliance. Said Kitt with a purr that recalls her strong mother, ‘My mother lost her battle with colon cancer in 2008. This is a disease that can be prevented and treated with regular screening. Anything that I can do to make people aware of the need for early screening and detection is important to me.’
   In fashion, you could say that the son also rises. Once again, Single Dress, a mainstay at Doris’s events had wonderful things for women on the town. However, founder Galina Sobolev’s son, Michael, is breaking out on his own with some smart underwear for the men in their lives. Then again, the charming young man himself offers something for the ladies, and proof the ever-youthful Galina was a fantastic Mom. Mon Atelier provided the after-eight formal glamour, while Timmy Woods was on the scene with her hand-crafted wooden minaudières and clutches.
   Most of the jewellery was both affordable and statement-making, from Kendra Bridelle’s LusciousS Collection (now with cool ’60s-inspired pieces), to earthy-antique inspired designs from Silvana K to Guess showcasing the latest hues in its timepiece collections: rose gold and navy blue. Another mainstay, Debra Mitchell’s Twisted Silver and Perch featured blasts of colour through integration of earthy semi-precious and rich gemstone colour crystals enlivening her popular, antique and reclaimed-piece inspired designs (where can I buy that great flower collar I spied on a colleague?). However, Bridelle was not only proud of her forthcoming eponymous line but also her representation of Gilbert Albert, a Swiss designer with show-stopping raw gems and rocks mounted with precious metals and diamonds.
   Whitening Lightening, Begley’s and Bill’s Sodas and Nature’s Flavors were also back with their healthy vices (teeth whitening, sodas and lip gloss), but the new company Mia Bath and Body mixed things up, literally with their own do-it-yourself fragrance products.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor











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