By Michael O'Connell Posted May 14, 2008, 9:45 AM EDT
The TV upfront presentations traditionally make for a week when New York's celebrity presence reaches a critical mass. Despite speculation that this year’s shifting of gears would put an end to that, the “Lucky Club,” the fashion magazine’s hospitality suite, has already seen as large a crowd as ever.
“I was really nervous about this year, but the changes ended up helping us more than hurting us,” Lucky special projects director Allyson Waterman told us yesterday, adding that cast members from Gossip Girl, The Office, Lipstick Jungle, and 30 Rock were among the first to stop by. “Everyone is more conscious of the upfronts and the whole process because of the writers strike. And some networks are even putting more of a focus on the talent this year. I was also concerned that vendors wouldn’t be as willing to participate because of the economy, but there was huge interest. We had to turn them away.”
This the fifth outing in as many years for which Lucky has taken over three conference rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Central Park South during Upfront Week. Designer Mark Testa at Mark Stephen Enterprises teamed up with magazine to turn the space into a Lucky-inspired retail boutique to showcase more than a dozen selected brands. A publication that doesn't focus on celebrity journalism, Lucky uses the suite as an opportunity to connect with TV stars and potential cover girls.
“The upfronts are one of the biggest celebrity events in New York,” Waterman said. “We wanted to have a presence and knew that a hospitality suite was how we could own this. We've seen a lot of established celebrities coming in over the last five years, and we get even more people on the verge of breaking out. They come to the upfronts for the first time, they have a new show, they’re being introduced to the industry, and we get the chance to support them early in their career, like we do with designers. Eva Longoria [Parker] came the year before anyone had even seen Desperate Housewives.”
There is little overlap between the magazine’s advertisers and the brands it chooses to showcase in the suite. Waterman says this is because Lucky wants the content of the suite to come from an editorial perspective, something she doesn't see much of in other hospitality suites. Brands setting up shop included Ben Sherman, True Religion, Madewell, and Lia Sophia Jewelry, but the most popular station, by far, belongs to Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Guests have the chance to play by themselves or duel with a friend before leaving with one of the hulking guitars sticking out from a giant canvas bag. The suite opened Monday and continues through today.