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living: life/style

Carry on HollywoodCarry on Hollywood

Elyse Glickman and Leyla Messian visit the Golden Globes’ pre-award show festivities to explore how trend creators and trend-setters are making the most of tough times


Top: Selena Gomez samples PureVia at the Access Hollywood GBK suite. Above: Christian Siriano at Proflowers.


Kari Feinstein carries on

With last year’s Writer’s Guild strike figuring in as the 2008 award show season’s biggest crasher, we admire the fact that Kari Feinstein and the FMPR crew still staged a party with all the trimmings, this year benefiting Visual Impact Now. Though moderation was a buzzword in award show fashion, her line-up bridged attendees’ passion for fashion with items that seem truly appropriate for the current state of the world.
   Other than stalwart Tacori Diamonds, on display during a VIP luncheon, jewels on display were in tune with our demand for either socially conscious or affordable chic. Tacori even used the occasion to unveil their new line of high-quality costume pieces.
   Wares from different designers showcased by the Italian Trade Commission reflected people’s rapidly different concepts of what makes “high-fashion” jewellery worth the money. We dug the concept behind Precious Earth’s jewellery, where stunning modern pieces are forged with recycled precious metals and certified cruelty-free gems as well as Stella & Dot’s affordable creations that bear more than a passing resemblance to Chanel, Dior and Gucci pieces blooming on the runways. Marni Rocks, meanwhile, was back in Kari’s fold offering guests their choice of customized birthday charm necklaces or buttery leather gloves with a bold peace sign.
   For the rest of the five senses, the event (staged at the newly-opened Zune House, Beverly Boulevard, a showcase–showplace for the MP3 and entertainment company) offered luxury skin care products from spa line Kerstin Florian, anti-ageing haircare from Joico and Moroccanoil (in a Hermès-inspired box), amazing sugar-free Wendi’s Fine English Toffee, Little Black Dress wines and Pink Dot Press stationery. There was also a little space for the functional as well: Pajama City’s grown-up footie pajamas (snatched up, given colder-than-usual weather conditions), body shapers with slip-proofing by Soma, RuMe’s jazzy recyclable bags and UltraDent teeth whitening kits.
   January Jones (Mad Men), Michelle Trachtenberg, Jessica Alba, Tom Arnold, David Allan Grier, Ali Landry, Kevin Sorbo, Debra Messing, Viola Davis, Greg Germann and Blair Underwood reinforced Kari’s excellent reputation for bringing in some of the most solid Hollywood personalities and interesting products together.
   Kari’s staffers, naturally, were on hand to assist celebrity guests with transporting their fashion finds. However, Johnny Ray Nelson, founder of Cariño Massage, offered helping hands that were also healing. He introduced his unique patented approach of massage (rooted in his recuperation from life-threatening injuries sustained when a plane crashed into his Hollywood apartment in El Salvador in 2003) to guests. Nelson’s story brought a humanizing dimension to the event, reminding those who stopped by that there is far more to life than award shows and their side shows, even when those side shows benefit many worthy charities.

In rough times, platinum still shines!

Nathalie DuBois and her DPA team took their act (the only one for the 2009 award show season in Los Angeles) to the Peninsula Hotel, where individual stories behind her featured entrepreneurs and inventors were as compelling as the products. Steas, a favourite beverage of Hollywood event planners, chose Nathalie’s event to debut the new Steas Organic Iced Tea line, which is the first full line of organic and fair-trade certified prepared iced teas. The eco-chic Vamp Bags’ creators offered imaginative ways to literally wear one’s heart (and affection for the environment) on her sleeve. BamBoo Hugs, meanwhile, offered statements for babies and tots with whimsical animal beach cover-ups.
   Though DPA, as usual, had a very international selection of fashion finds, we particularly liked local LA designer Eva Varro’s packable but feminine separates (sold on QVC and available for women of all sizes) and some downright funny understatements from the European company Pull-In. Also, after so many years of blingy diamond everything, Michelle Henderson’s jewellery (whose devotees include Joan Collins, Angela Bassett and Kimberly Elise) was a fabulously earthy change of pace. Each design had a wonderful primal femininity to it, and you could imagine ancient queens donning these dazzlers in preparation for a coronation ceremony.
   It was also great to see Janet League-Katzin and her Sphatica line back on the circuit. However, at this year’s DPA suite, we had the opportunity to test drive some of her best selling products via indulgent facials. The mix of such luxuries as their Bulgarian Rose Scented Facial preparation, Gold Finishing Serum (with real gold blended in to protect skin from environmental stress) and other things left one feeling, post-facial, as if one plunged into an ice-cold pool and emerged totally refreshed. Once the æsthetician told us Janet and her team had spent time in India researching the subject, we were dually impressed. While the Sphatica line could be described as a vacation in a bottle, Jeffrey Crochet had us considering a trip to Tahiti’s Manea Spa for some more hands-on attention.


Maple Leaf Gardens

If you were a VIP, suites hosted by GBK, Access Hollywood and Jayneoni Moore gave you ample reason to party like it was 2005. As always, celebrities were gifted or loaned fabulous products hailing from all four corners of the globe. However, the events provided opportunities for trendsetting Canadian products and accessories to shine.
   At the Access Hollywood event, for example, reps from Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal took a break from winter weather to bask in the Hollywood glow to show off such cool things like new Blackberry models for T-Mobile, Buddha Boards (an eco-friendly toy for the whole family), fine imported watches and other apparel. GBK hosted Ottawa-based Mistura Beauty Solutions (a six-in-one cosmetic perfectly suited for these baggage-restricted times).
   The Boom Boom Room, Jayneoni Moore’s charity-building mega-emporium for Hollywood tykes, also had a slew of companies (including Mabel’s Labels and Robeez Shoes) bringing some northern light into the wardrobes and nurseries of well-heeled babies and toddlers of Chyler Leigh, Tim and Jane Allen, Victoria Recano, Cole Hauser (with wife Cynthia Daniel), Busy Philipps, Evan Handler, Maxine Bahns, Jake Busey, James Black, Constance Marie and Neal McDonough.
   In fact, this was an especially good year to be a baby girl at the Boom Boom Room, with girlie goodies from Mama Om, McCall Wilder Designs, MiGiStyle, and Buti-Bag. However, there were some delights adults could enjoy, too: chic TITI Collection and BOOB post-maternity garments (which give new meaning to camouflage) as well as handy and beautifully made totes from RockNMom and Green Girl. For the boys, there were Lego sets and rocker tees from Chicago-based Stella Blu Clothing. On the more practical side, everybody had their pick of baby gear from Philips Avent,’s educational soft toys, Barbamel Books and Born Free. The most well-heeled of children, however, could follow in their parents’ footsteps, literally, with treatments from the Spa Di Da Spa & Salon for children.
   GBK, which took its party back to the former Friar’s Club digs in Beverly Hills, saluted future Hollywood legends and hopefuls Amanda Bynes, Brigid Brannagh, Christopher Carley with products and services that leaned toward the practical (Packseat Backpacks, luxe lotions from Epicuren Baby, Jenny Bee’s store of whip-smart children’s toys, Eco Caterer’s wholesome snacks, refreshing layered cocktails from Ocean Bar Service, Metropolis hair care tools, mStation’s Mophie Juice charger for iPhones and Share-Bud’s headphones-for-two). However, fashion was still present through Israeli designer David Tishbi’s gorgeous gold and silver creations and Earring-Aids, which ensured you did not lose your new earrings. This time, Gavin Keilly’s gathering drew awareness for Isaiah Washington’s Gondobay Manga Foundation, Terrence Howard’s St Bernard Project and Educating Young Minds.

   The Access Hollywood ‘Stuff You Must …’ suite was one of the more exclusive of the bunch (in many senses of the word). Celebrities getting the royal treatment included Adam Arkin, Kevin Sorbo, Tichina Arnold, Rachelle Lefèvre, Samaire Armstrong, Kimberly Elise, Melina Kanakaredes and Donal Logue.
   However, we have to give props to On3 and Kaplow PR for this Golden Globes’ week’s most interesting assemblage of genuinely cool products, from Keurig’s updated and fabulous pod coffee makers, made-in-USA Habitual denims, to Fred Naggar’s quintessentially “young Hollywood” apparel for his Glamour Campaign and Tenstate lines. We were particularly wowed by the Sodastream home soda makers, groovy iHome iPod players and Virginia-based Passchal Handbags—a company that spins fine Italian skins and recycled tractor inner tubes into ultra-chic fashion statements.
   Kaplow, the firm in charge of promoting US-based CVS Pharmacy’s transformation from ordinary drug store chain to European-style beauty emporium last year, brought a world of beauty wonders back to the Sofitel as well as introduced Beauty360. This new retail concept made the upmarket and superior quality cosmetic goods of Sampar, Borba Skincare and Laura Geller to more people, both in the lounge and the real world. Laura Geller herself was perhaps the most gracious star on site, explaining the right way to use her products as if she were your trusted next-door neighbour. •


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Above: CVS Pharmacy donated $100,000 to Best Buddies and Lollipop Theater Network at Access Hollywood’s third annual Stuff You Must lounge. Accepting the cheque were Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical 3), Taylor Lautner (Twilight), Nancy O’Dell and Billy Bush (Access Hollywood).


From top: At the Boom Boom Room, with products from Loved Baby, Tim and Jane Allen—awaiting a new arrival in four months’ time. Busy Philipps (ER) getting goodies for five-month-old daughter, Birdie Leigh. Evan Handler (Californication) picking up goodies for Dave Eigenberg, who was expecting a baby boy. Ali Landry holds up her Blankie Keeper with inventor Leslie A. M. Smith. Below: At the Access Hollywood GBK suite, Anna Lynne McCord (90210) samples Koolaburra. Carrie Ann Inaba with Passchal. Jennifer Carpenter at the CVS Pharmacy Reinventing Beauty Bar with Cristophe. With the Mophie Juice Pack at the GBK suite are Stephen Baldwin; Anna Lynne McCord and Rachel McCord.



Though moderation was a buzzword in award show fashion, Kari Feinstein’s line-up bridged attendees’ passion for fashion with items that seem truly appropriate for the current state of the world

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