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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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March 8, 2014

Top of the world and top of the Beverly Hilton with top beauty finds

Elyse Glickman/8.29

So many suites, so little time. However, one that was literally head, shoulders and eight storeys above the rest was the TMG International Red Carpet Ready Luxury Suite, which was very international in its products and its welcoming vibe for a carefully curated guest list of celebrities, VIPs and media. The set up atop the Beverly Hilton Hotel had a funhouse feel—albeit a most glamorous funhouse for sophisticated fashionistas—with each room having its own set of surprises that popped out at you.
   TMG International’s pre-Oscar thrill ride started off in a front room of a penthouse suite set up almost like a velvet-lined jewellery box focused on the dazzling and highly covetable gold accented sterling silver pieces from Ariva, a Rhode Island-based company focused on reconciling the look and craftsmanship of fine jewellery with the prices of silver “investment” pieces that could be worn every day. Though these precious items were there for the trying and the borrowing, the company’s representatives couldn’t have been nicer or more genuine about the enthusiasm about their collection.
   You could say the second room was the “family room”. Moms and Moms-to-be received a lovely care package from Rockabye Mommy, a “Mommy concierge” that puts together personal and customized shopping for the selective prospective parent. Their nifty package was geared toward girly glam, with baby jewellery, barettes and bib for baby, and leggings, camera strap and organic fruit and vegetable wash for Mom. The affiliation from Kitson brought more Hollywood Mommy-and-me street cred to the charming bundle.
   Grown-up men and women could protect and accentuate their personal bundles with shapewear by Rounderbum. Made in Mexico, these underpinnings feel cotton-soft on the skin, with some pieces adding stylish flair while holding the essentials in place. Adding extra ambiance was LifeNSoul’s candy-coloured line of high-performance earphones, high-tech ear buds and speakers.
   Although we were breezed past the hair salon room, which was packed to the rafters with VIPs hoping to salvage their rain-soaked tresses, our lovely escort led us to the next room, which took the form of a luxury day spa with Montana-based skin care line Sevique prominently featured. As celebrities were pampered with treatments such as the ‘Eye Relaxation with Anti Aging Benefits’, ‘Facial Massage with Deep Cleansing & Protection’, and ‘Neck & Décolleté Hydration & Anti Aging Massage’, Sevique’s founder Susan Nickell and other reps highlighted step- by-step benefits of their natural, cruelty-free products while focusing on guests’ red-carpet ready concerns such as close-up interviews and strapless gowns.
   From the serenity of the Sevique spa, we then thought we landed in Barbie’s Dream House, awash in pink. However, it was a showcase for Cocoa Brown Tanning, devised by Irish inventor Marissa Carter, who, with her doting mother, showed how her three products used together could add a very convincing and realistic glow even to the fairest Irish rose (as opposed to US House Speaker John Boehner orange). A short passage to India concluding our journey, with a room that featured the Icandy Salon from San Francisco, and SHAPES Brow Bar, which brings Indian threading to many locations through southern California, including Sherman Oaks Fashion Square. The teams in that room would not rest, or let us get up, until we were looking our very best (at least under rainy circumstances).—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor



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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 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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Behold: the Vionic woman

Elyse Glickman/5.54



When I was a little kid, Jaime Sommers, a.k.a. the Bionic Woman, was my idol. Although we all cannot be Jaime Sommers (and in reality, may not want to be), we can all be Vionic women, as I learned upon an invite to visit the West Hollywood fitness studio of celebrity trainer Juliet Kaska to view the complete line of Vionic shoes and go home with a pair of “red carpet” red walking shoes. The sandals and loafers, for lack of a better pun, are flat-out fabulous. Lots of nice designer details, from leopard prints and patents in attention-getting colours, to silhouettes that promise to keep you comfortable all day without looking as if you looted your hippie aunt’s stash of Birkenstocks and orthopædic oxfords.
   The cheerful red walkers everybody went home with did have a fun, street-chic vibe to them. I wore them to work the next day, and was delighted that my feet, and the rest of the legs, felt pretty good from 7.45 a.m. to 3 p.m. The job literally keeps me on my toes, and the way it is padded (like a several hundred dollar orthotic built into a shoe), felt particularly good.
   The science behind the style can be traced to Australian podiatrist Phillip Vasyli. The Vionic Innovation Lab (VIL) is an unparallelled collaborative of world-renowned authorities with a common vision: to enhance foot health and advance affordable, innovative technologies that help feet and legs function at their very best. Over his years in practice, Vasyli has witnessed the biomechanical effects of overpronation (the excess rolling of the outside of the foot to the inside). To address the problem, in 1987, he introduced the Vasyli custom heat-mouldable orthotic, a fast, low-cost solution and vast improvement over previous—and more expensive—treatment options. This led to the 1991 invention of the globally acclaimed Orthaheel, the world’s first and only true orthotic available without a doctor’s prescription.
   Orthaheel orthotic inserts and sandals quickly expanded through Australia and the UK, and the company’s 2007 US market introduction was received with great enthusiasm and commercial success. It also did not hurt that Dr Andrew Weil, integrative medicine guru, and Juliet Kaska have advanced its cause. To bring it further, the red-carpet shoe press event also served as an official kick-off to the third annual Walkabout Campaign, where those who attain the shoes and make a pledge to attain better health will receive 28 days of fitness tips from Juliet Kaska and healthy recipe ideas from Dr Weil. The contest is open to the public, and a grand prize winner will be selected at the culmination of the campaign, based on participation, to win a Red Carpet Ready weekend where they will be flown to Los Angeles to train with celebrity trainer Juliet Kaska at JK Zen Fitness in West Hollywood. The winner will also receive Vionic footwear, athletic wear and fitness gear to begin their personal health journey.
   For more information, or to sign up, visit www.vionicshoes.com/2014-walkabout-signup.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor















Nicole Greenberg

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February 27, 2014

Hacienda in winter

Lucire staff/2.47




Paula Sweet

Greetings from Desert Hot Springs, where mid-80s winter temperatures, clear skies and brilliant sun serve as antidote to the grey chill we left behind in Europe only two weeks ago. Here in California we checked into Hacienda Hot Springs, our favourite secret hideaway, for the therapeutic waters and tranquil setting our high-velocity lifestyle craved. It’s great to be back and decelerate in a zone of rejuvenation.
   Once again GM Karl Stober personally welcomed us to the property. He showed off the last of the season’s nubby Mexican lemons from Hacienda’s modest orchard. Karl, who moonlights as a screenwriter and music journalist, walked us through the grounds, lush green, floral and palm fronds on all sides, past the well where the hot water gathers at 130°F before it reaches the 94°F big pool and the 104°F hot tub. Breakfast was out on the table, hearty granola, fresh fruit, aromatic coffee, and the waffle iron at the ready. We loved room 7, last stop at the end of the passage way, with its tiny patio and beckoning hammock. This tiny gem of a property sleeps only 12 at full occupancy, so exclusivity reigns and privacy prevails.
   Hacienda offers a special rate for Facebook friends. A phone call in advance will get you a special three-night winter deal for Lucire readers through June 2014, with the third night at a 30 per cent discount.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

Hacienda Hot Springs Inn
12885 Eliseo Road
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
USA
Telephone 1 760 251-2885
haciendahotsprings.com



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February 7, 2014

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York, fall–winter 2014–15, day one

Lucire staff/8.11

If you missed the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York shows on our live player, never fear: we have the autumn–winter 2014–15 collections from Nicholas K, BCBG Max Azria (celebrating 25 years in business), Raoul, Desigual, Tome, Todd Snyder, Creatures of the Wind, Richard Chai, Tadashi Shoji, Mark and Estel, and the Heart Truth Red Dress collection, this year called Go Red for Women, tying in to the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day on Friday.
   Celebrities at the Heart Truth show included Nene Leakes in Dolce & Gabbana, AnnaSophia Robb in Alice & Olivia, Taryn Manning in Carmen Marc Valvo, Jill Hennessy in Dennis Basso, Giada de Laurentiis in Carolina Herrera, Lindsey Vonn in crutches wearing Cynthia Rowley, and Ireland Baldwin in Donna Karan. Star Jones hosted the event, along with Macy’s CMO Martine Reardon and the American Heart Association’s CEO Nancy Brown.
   It was a largely safe autumn–winter presentation from some designers, with darker, more muted shades being the order of the day one. Exceptions included Raoul and Desigual, in their choice of bolder prints and patterns. Tadashi Shoji was not afraid to go bold, either, with reds and purples, his romantic and elegant eveningwear set in a ‘moonlit Moorish Palace.’ Creatures of the Wind’s Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters went for a greater range of colours, including mint green and a fluorescent yellow, with contrasting silhouettes and approaches. Marissa Webb kept her collection practical and stylish—we predict decent custom come the fall. Mark and Estel, meanwhile, gave a proper glam vibe that celebrated Estel Day and Mark Tango’s love of music and fashion.

Nicholas K

BCBG Max Azria

Raoul

Desigual

Tome

Todd Snyder

Creatures of the Wind

Richard Chai

Tadashi Shoji

Mark and Estel

The Heart Truth

Marissa Webb

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