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living: the scene

A more real Oscar weekA more real Oscar week

The pre-award prep and primp sessions may be pared down, but Elyse Glickman and Leyla Messian discover spirits are as high as ever in Hollywood. This year’s film and talent nominees represent a renewed commitment to quality and social consciousness, as did the gatherings intended to celebrate their accomplishments


TWO THOUSAND AND NINE IS the first year in recent memory where people around us were seemed more genuinely interested in how celebrities performed on film and in music than what how they and their entourages were pampered before their big day of reckoning or recognition.


Singing in the rain
Fittingly enough, the über-cool Xbox 360 video game headlined Distinctive Asset’s 51st Annual Grammy Awards Gift Lounge. True to tradition, hard rains arrived in time for DA’s signature event, making arriving at and parking near Staples Center a challenge, as Mother Nature does every year. However, those who braved the elements were richly rewarded with fresh and fanciful summery jewellery from MiSiS, wonderful gemstone-adorned sterling silver and 18 ct gold wardrobe staples from Lorenzo, and cool sets of rain gear from California company DAV (which were promptly put to good use by grateful guests who braved the storm.
   The healthy Japanese lifestyle was well represented through Ninapharm Skincare for men and women and detoxifying health supplements from Health Carbon Pure. Skin care expert Janet Harris (who authored a chapter in Robin ‘Mrs Dr Phil’ McGraw’s What’s Age Got to Do with It?) provided additional advice and guidance. Celebs such as Jennifer Hudson, Kid Rock, Sheila E., Kate Beckinsale, Jack Black, Kathy Griffin, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus lingered in the suite to test out hot new interactive games Lips, and MTV Games’ and Harmonix’s Rock Band 2. Gunnar Optics and Solstice were back on the scene, treating the VIPs to protective eyewear, while Chi was distributing hair-protecting style tools with a little something extra—tattoo motifs and Swarovski crystals.
   Though Distinctive Assets’ crew, shortly after the Grammys, put out the word that their equally anticipated Everybody Wins at the Oscars Basket was soon on its way, nominees and presenters walked away from DA’s always-fabulous Grammy event triumphantly with a garden of delights: items from Lionessa, Catdaddy, Christopher Michael Chocolates, Giacini Atelier, Lust & Gore Hardwear, Ilike organic skin care, the Sports Club/LA, Altoids, Matrix, Heelskinz, Dr Fresh, Binaca, La Costa Resort & Spa, iFly Hollywood, LA Dodgers, YSL, NikiBiki,, SkinIT!, nekFIT, Addis English & Associates, Jennie & Vera’s Cookies, the Huntley Hotel, Corner Bakery Café, Amazon Thunder, Wheatware, FilterForGood, Johnny Rockets, Kiwi, Discreet Chic, L’Essentiel, Lemon, Freehands Gloves, magicJack, EarthLust, Zico, and Lucy.


Nirvana in Tibet
Asia Cruise, Raz B, Katie Gill, Lara Johnston, Alexandra Leighton, Kimberly Cole, Yuval David, Jennifer Sciole, Kelli Rénée, Kelvin Brown, Michael Kaliski, Jason Farmer and Rachelle Carson, meanwhile, sought and found enlightenment and great green fashion musts at the second annual Green with Music, created by veteran Hollywood publicists Beverly Visty-Doman and John Forrester. While their goal was ‘to further public awareness of “going green” by educating and influencing artists to make a stand, make a change and give back to the environment,’ they found a creative new way to get the word out about eco-friendly living. Visty-Doman and Forrester transported Grammy nominees and other invitees to the Himalayas in the heart of Koreatown!
   Amid the harmonious strains of the day’s awesome soundtrack, MC Yogi’s Elephant Power (which would go home with the guests), fruits ripe for the picking included Crystal Rock clothing (what would award show suites be without at least one representation of Christian Audigier’s empire?), KisClean organic cleaning solutions, Rickshaw bags and handy Envirosax. There were treatments from Spa Tibet to feed the soul as well as wholesome treats (Café Gratitude, Ghalia Organic Desserts and Comfort Bar, Tommy Bahama Rum and Eel River Organic Brewing Company) to feed the body.


Best short subjects
Though a recent cocktail party and tasting event for Cabana Cachaca wasn’t officially part of the Oscar Week festivities, it was literally a taste of things to come. The event was elegantly staged in the Bazaar lounge of the SLS Hotel, currently the city’s “it” boutique hotel, something all of the city’s top event planners were keenly aware of. As bartenders spun heady, flavourful cocktails and caipirhina sorbet, Cabana’s master distiller was on hand to discuss what made his adaptation of the classic Brazilian spirit a luxurious sipping experience.
   The savvy Vancouver-based publicity team behind the Ole Henricksen spas, knowing how hectic suites with spa services could be, had the foresight to treat the press to what celebrities would be offered at the GBK at 2009’s official pre-party central, the SLS Hotel. As guests were expected to include high-calibre talent (Helen Mirren, Forest Whitaker and Leonardo di Caprio were past attendees), it was indeed a smart move to make writers on deadline feel special ahead with the decadent and newly launched Universal Contour Wrap (UCW), a detoxifying inch-loss treatment. The treatment is a serious time commitment, involving being wrapped in 25 to 30 elasticized bandages that pre-soaked in a warm, mineral-rich clay solution. The combination promises to sculpt and tone the body, while the natural minerals absorb into the skin and the clay draws out toxins. While some treatments are worth it simply for the indulgence factor, our jeans did fit a lot better in the days that followed.
   Barcelona’s Natura Bisse teamed up with Brazil’s H. Stern Oscar Suite for another intimate, crowd-free retreat. Suite 810 was transformed into a retreat that combined H. Stern’s Rio archives and showroom with some of the sets of Woody Allen’s Sleeper. All whimsy aside, there were some serious gems to be borrowed. Taraj P. Henson’s stylist was hard at work picking some choice pieces for the Best Supporting Actress’s (Mysterious Case of Benjamin Button) public appearances, while a small handful of journalists were also afforded the luxury of trying on some of the world’s most coveted baubles. Natura Bisse’s team kept the indulgent experience going, escorting guests into the futuristic bubbles filled with purified air for body and facial treatments. The body massage and exfoliation was a lovely earthy experience where the product was removed with a magnet leaving silky skin behind, as lavender wafted through the air. Guests were then sent out happy, with charming gold H. Stern studs, a fantastic leather jewellery pouch and some Natura Bisse treats for the road.
   Fashion publicist Marilyn Heston and her MHA Media team were once again front and centre of pre-Oscar Festivities. While their events, given current conditions, were scaled back in comparison to recent past seasons, they maintained the elegance and sophistication that has enabled them to be Oscar week fashion mainstays. The Wednesday before the big night, the ladies staged a swanky gathering for Swarovski at the Thompson Hotel’s very popular Bond Street rooftop area. The area was set up like a fashion-toned art gallery, where the fashion-focused guests (including Petro Zillia founder Nony Totchterman) could admire Swarovski-adorned costumes from recent films and jewellery as the noshed on sublime sushi and Asian nibbles and washed it all down with sparkling sake-tinis.
   By day, Team Marilyn brought A-listers and the journalists who love them an early summer glow at West Hollywood’s Kinara Spa. After a vigorous tropical flavoured body scrub, new-and-improved San Tropez Tan products were meticulously sprayed, layered and sent home with glowing guests.
   Other entrepreneurs taking advantage of the opportunity to show off their beauty essentials included Val Harding with her haute Halcyon Blue bath line (known as Serendipity in Australia and New Zealand) packaged for nominees and VIPs in a fab leather case.



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Above, from top: At Chi: Miley Cyrus. Grammy winner Ne-Yo. Kate Beckinsale. Kid Rock. American Idol’s Justin Guarini and Kimberly Caldwell. Below: This takes the cake. Stuart Weitzman’s latest collection. Seacret from Israel, at Bergman and Talbert’s suite at La Bohème.

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