Even with savvy Amy Boatwright surprising us every awards’ season with her magic in putting together the Secret Room Red Carpet Luxury Lounge, finding new beauty discoveries (and being treated to an amazing array of treatments ranging from Botox to hair services) never stops being exciting. As we’ve come to expect, the pampering and products for people were nicely balanced with fundraising and awareness for the Best Friends Animal Society and No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) shelters, both dedicated to ensuring cats and dogs get the medical treatments, owners and fur-ever homes they deserve.
However, as this is part of the countdown leading up to Hollywood’s biggest night, the 2017 Academy Awards, the ladies once again pulled out all the stops with sweets and 100 per cent arabica bean coffee from Wolfgang Puck and beauty treatments (including Botox!) from Pasadena-based Parfaire Medical Æsthetics who did a fantastic job of introducing prospective clients to their services and practitioners, and topped it off with a US$50 gift certificate for VIPs. Other services that transformed the suite into a spa included Cecilia Alcala’s massage services, braids and up-dos from Toni & Guy stylists, and Celebrity Gold face masks, and décolleté and hand treatments from European Skin & Massage Studio.
However, the best beauty surprise of all was the return of Chaz Dean to the main stage at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. A decade ago, he opened his house (that is, his Hollywood bungalow house-turned-salon) to Lucire and other outlets for pre-award show beauty lounges that are still the stuff of awards’ week legend. He introduced us to the wonders of all-purpose, all-in-one products under the Wen line. Although Chaz had been through a lot in recent years, including a fire at the salon and some controversy surrounding his products, he’s bounced back in a big way, with lavish new formulas for Wen, as well as pet grooming products, elegant fragrances, and body care in an ever-changing offering of seasonal aromas as well as year-round scents.
Speaking of magic gardens (specifically, Chaz’s assortment of fragrances), guests learned about one of Los Angeles’ best hidden treasures, the Gottlieb Native Garden, in a stunning coffee-table book. Located a few minutes drive from the SLS, this inspired hideaway open to the public features California native vegetation as well as once-lost forms of wildlife returning to this new habitat. Other nice things ripe for the picking included skin care from Dermatologic Cosmetics Laboratories, Axia Medical Solutions, Dermis RX Skincare, EstheProLabo HerbZyme Elixir, Allomind’s 3-D movie viewing glasses, and luxury items and other incentives to visit Croatia from the Croatian Tourist Board. There had to be something special for pets, and Sally Snacks‘ Venison Dog Treats fit the bill.
Repeat “nominees” returning to the lounge included Australia-based Auspect Skincare International with full travel kits filled with their all-purpose line, starring anti-ageing serums for fine lines and wrinkles and eye cream for dark circles to solutions for rosacea and acne-prone skin. Forever in My Heart Jewelry by Mira, whose founder was also devoted to animal welfare, returned with more chic silver statement pieces and pet-oriented baubles. We also enjoyed a second helping of Storm Rejuvenate Pro’s tidy box of perfect gel primer serum packet whose contents erase the appearance of wrinkles and loose skin, and a double dip of gourmet peanut butter from Julie’s Real Foods, Pasta Chips and Goodie Girl cookies.
At many Secret Room events, media guests can pick up extra bonus products to try. However, this go-round, Amy gave the familiar “and wait … there’s more” sentiment a lift by sending press away with an L. L. Bean tote brimming with such desirables as make-up palettes from Anastasia Beverly Hills, a free year-long subscription to New Beauty, vitamins from Hero Nutritionals, a gift certificate for Sasaki Advanced Æsthetic Medical Center, a gift certificate for shoes from Hey Lady Shoes, and some hand-crafted home décor items. It was a grab bag worthy of being treated with kid gloves.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor