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The Frank Gehry-designed IAC Building opposite Chelsea Piers has become known for the white glow it emits at night. But on Tuesday evening, the lighting from the lobby was a rosier shade. For the launch party of the pink BlackBerry Pearl, more than 150 guests filled the lobby space, which had been made over in pink decor and lighting, for cocktails, nibbles, and a first glimpse of the new smart-phone. (Two days later, BlackBerry launched with a similar event in Los Angeles.) Hosted by Elle's fashion director, Nina Garcia, the Project Runway judge who appears in BlackBerry ads, the mostly female-attended event played with the tagline “Are you confident enough to wear pink?”
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion's director of public relations, Shelly Sofer, and national channel marketing manager Carrie Lepage asked their PR agency, Harrison & Shriftman, to design and produce the event. Leading the production team was Ryan Jordan, who recently devised a pink-and-white setting for the Kira Plastinina press preview.
With two months to plan a directive and deliver a high-end press event to garner media attention, Jordan chose the west Chelsea IAC headquarters for its modern architecture and its unique offering: one of the world's largest indoor high-resolution video walls. At 120 feet long and 11 feet tall, the screen dominates the west side of the lobby, an area that can be rented for events subject to approval. And since few events had taken place in the building, the location was an added draw for the press.
As soon as the event site had been confirmed, the production team started working on the graphics content for the video wall, the focal point of the event. During the party, the wall was a kaleidoscope of moving images—swirly shapes, butterflies, and flowers—in pink, purple, and white. These images also appeared on the hors d'oeuvre trays, made of small portable DVD players encased in black plexiglass. Another unique visual was a butterfly installation that hung over the circular bar. Jordan strung more than 1,000 butterfly-shaped pieces from fishing wire and attached them to a truss over the bar.
The event offered more than just pretty things to look at: Guests were encouraged to scribble thoughts on a large chalkboard, titled the “Pink Prose Wall,” marked with questions like “What woman has inspired you the most?” “What does pink represent in your life?” and “Which famous woman would you like to meet?” Attendees shared girly thoughts that included “Pink is sassy!” and “Style comes from knowing who you are and who you want to be in the world.” (BlackBerry kept this piece as a memento after the event.)
In line with the decor, the food and drink came in the pink-colored variety: pink radish on chicken-salad beggars purses, pink prosciutto on fig blinis, and salmon with pink peppercorns. Harrison & Shriftman dressed the servers to match, too, creating a uniform comprising a black shirt, black jeans, a pink tie, and pink Converse sneakers.
Upon leaving, guests received the new BlackBerry, as well as a copy of Garcia's popular fashion manual The Little Black Book of Style.