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Lucire Living
Travis Jourdain

The celebrities come out to Kathy Duliakas’s party Rénée Olstead (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) at Perch by TII Jewelry booth at Kathy Duliakas’s 5th Annual Oscar Suite and Party. More from this event overleaf

That red-carpet feeling

At 2013’s pre-Oscar lounges, Elyse Glickman reports that the fashion, lifestyle and travel trends represented are as interesting, innovative and engaging as this year’s nominated films and performers
photographed by Travis Jourdain, Manuel Carrillo, Carell Augustus and the author


The 85th edition of the Academy Awards, unlike other years, makes us remember why we love movies and we love awards’ season (including the “getting dressed up” part). Every year, there are nominations and snubs that have us scratching our heads while others are so good yet obvious that we didn’t feel an actual need to watch the telecast most of the time—though we did anyway, in the name of supporting our town and industry.

Of course, there have been some unforgettable moments (e.g. Jennifer Hudson’s Dreamgirls win) as well as blockbuster missteps (Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosting in 2011). While there were plenty of eye-roll inducing moments in this year’s race, the wild two-month ride from nominations to the big night kept everybody guessing and interested in actually tuning into the show.

The 2013 show was a mixed bag of strange pacing, a shaky start for MC Seth McFarlane’s hosting duties, a hilarious sock puppet parody of best picture nominee Flight that broke up the awkward opening monologue, a radiant Jennifer Lawrence tripping on the stairs à la Carrie Bradshaw en route to the Oscar podium, Ang Lee pulling off a Best Director upset for Life of Pi, and Kristen Stewart looking very out of sorts. Of course, we knew Ben Affleck was going to get Best Picture for Argo, proving once again you cannot hold a good (and talented) man down, or a great story for that matter.

Through our pre-award show coverage, meanwhile, we have witnessed an interesting evolution of a type of backstage entertainment industry politics that exists only in Hollywood. We have seen these events start out as highly creative, elaborate themed parties that drew top tier nominees to pick up beauty and fashion essentials specifically for the big night. This lead to over-the-top all-occasion product giveaways that later prompted some public backlash as well as a government-instituted taxation on the loot. As the economy took a turn, suites began to resemble trade shows with a random (though interesting) mix of products.

While suite guests are rightfully discouraged from “double dipping”—that is, taking more product than they should and otherwise acting gluttonous—several vendors and charities did the two-step at different gifting suites (some on the same day), getting multiple hits from their intended targets, all in the name of smart marketing. Among them: the Yes! Beat Liver Tumors charity, Twisted Silver Jewelry, Kixies stay-up stockings, and Julie Lopez shoes.

Through it all, the saving graces for these events have consistently been the sponsoring charities, as well as providing a platform for entrepreneurs, artists and inventors who in turn inspire us with creative products. We love to see them “win” when they score the right celebrity photo op and pitch for a product we think is worthwhile. Just as suites are also more selective about which journalists can attend, we’ve become selective in the ones we decided to attend as well. Four of the five “nominees” we selected were very impressive not only in terms of the various causes promoted but the products as well.

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The Secret Room
The Secret Room, which is justifiably becoming more exclusive with every single event they stage, ended up having the most well defined theme: global travel. Furthermore, they did a superb job of making Easter Seals the centre of attention in their wonderfully organized event on the Garden Terrace of the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.

In the US, Easter Seals provides exceptional services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live, learn, work and play with the rest of their friends and classmates in the general population. Easter Seals encouraged donations and asked celebrities to sign a gift bag which will be auctioned off. Celebrities who came out to support Easter Seals and check out many products with their own charitable affiliations included best supporting actress nominee Jackie Weaver, Paula Abdul, Sofia Milos, Sandra Vidal, Eric Roberts, Christian Lelack, Jackie Collins, Jen Lilley, Kate Linder and Fivel Stewart.

The winners

Biaggi Luggage: besides the gorgeous colours of the valises offered to the A-listers, Biaggi impressed us as a fashionable, functional godsend in the era of excessive baggage fees and storage restrictions. When not in use, the carry-on suitcase folds into its own compact tote-bag, yet is durable enough to endure 50 yd dashes from gate to gate at the airport.

VivaBeads: Chicago-based Lori Mottlowitz not only offers a collection of playful clay bead accessories but also a V2 collection consisting of Iphone and Ipad cases for women who get so busy they constantly run the risk of leaving their precious tools behind at any given moment of confusion. Mottlowitz clearly demonstrates she reads her audience like a book—or an e-book, to be exact.

Ronaldo Needham: the Louisville, Kentucky-based designer just may be one of America’s unsung heroes in the realm of jewellery design—but hopefully, his appearance at the Secret Room and the reception he got from celebrities will soon change that. Even in a town defined by Harry Winston, Cartier and Tiffany’s, there is something very moving, homespun and American about his design approach. His jewellery is painstakingly made in forging gold and silver wire, along with solid elements that results in pieces that are at once solid and feminine, old-fashioned and modern. During his 30 years in the business, the warm and personable Ronaldo has created and copyrighted nearly 900 designs. These in turn have been sold in over 900 different jewellery stores, and represented by more than 1,000 sales professionals in 35 states and five countries.

VitaMedica: developed by Dr David Rahm, these vitamins are not only eco-friendly but also formulated to deliver the user with the expressions of vitamins most readily absorbed by the body. Or as Rahm sees it, entire vitamin “families”. For example, vitamin E does not refer to just one compound but to a series of eight compounds: four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. The B-complex also refers to a family of eight vitamins including niacin, riboflavin and folate. In nature, these vitamin families tend to appear together, creating synergistic, beneficial effects. When isolated in a supplement form, their benefits are reduced.

Mala Collective: anybody who practices yoga has seen fellow yogis sport malas (aum rudruksha jewellery), beads with stones that support the wearer’s intentions for his or her yoga practices. The company founders were inspired to create their line based on a trip to southeast Asia. A series of events led them to meet the woman who created the malas they acquired in Bali en route to Thailand. While the malas are made under Fair Trade standards, proceeds from the sales are delivered to several charities including a non-profit birthing and wellness centre in Bali called Bemi Sehat, Karma Teachers, who offer free yoga to those on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization, and Girlvana, which promotes female empowerment for young women through yoga, meditation and a healthy lifestyle.

Maui Made by Pamela Mikesell: though based in Arizona, Mikesell found a way to bottle her ensuring passion for Hawai‘i. She bottles three teriyaki sauces that not only bring authentic island recipes on to the US mainland but return the favour to the women of Maui who shared the recipes. A portion of every bottle sold is donated to Hawaiian charities that help preserve the Hawaiian culture.

Kim Samela Atelier: Samela presented select guests with gorgeous pillows crafted from exquisite fabrics sourced from around the world. However, the pillows are the tip of the iceberg in terms of what she’s accomplished in the past decade. From opening and running her own upholstered furniture factory in 2001, to being the creative director and sole designer of the Hotel Maison furniture collection, Salmela has emerged as an American interior design leader, recognizing customers want more distinctive and personal surroundings rather than the matched “suites” of their parents’ generation.

Lynex: you have to love a Silicon Valley-based cosmetics company whose name sounds a little like a pioneering computer code language. True to form, their products have landed in 32 countries and are used by over 2·2 million consumers. The product they’ve been touting is their Dragon Fruit Cream, which can be used any time of day, and provides a daily dose of vitamins found in the southeast Asian superfruit.

Finest Accessories: we’re always looking for cures for those all-too-frequent bad hair days. This purveyor of sleek, chic hair accessories from around the world did not disappoint, neither at the Oscars or their earlier appearance at the Secret Room Golden Globes’ do. We only wish our future purchases came with the capable people at the booth to advise us on which styles worked best with different hair textures.

Charise Noël–the Real Me: as far as necklaces are concerned, there is perhaps nothing more one-size-fits-all than a lariat style necklace. Its benefits? No clasp to fool around with, and you can wear it at different lengths based on the neckline you’re wearing. Charise Noel further personalizes the experience by custom-designing something unique to the customers, with elements that tell a story about the wearer.

Eminence: neither we nor celebrities can get enough of this expansive Hungarian skin care line best known for its good-enough-to-eat lotions, scrubs, soaps and body butters. However, we are particularly excited about their new antioxidant-rich vegan vitamin capsules, available in Firm Skin, Calm Skin and Clear Skin varieties.





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Elyse Glickman is US west coast editor of Lucire.