Q & A

Harrison & Shriftman's Elizabeth Harrison

February 26, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

Elizabeth Harrison is a partner at Harrison & Shriftman, a PR and events agency that works primarily with high-profile fashion, film and entertainment clients, including Jimmy Choo, Mercedes-Benz and Hugo Boss. The firm plans movie premieres, charity benefits, fashion shows, new product launches, store openings and other events.

BiZBash: How has the tone of events changed in the past six months? Are things less showy or do people want more glamour as an antidote to the poor economy?

Harrison: There have been fewer events in the last six months, although since the end of January the pace is starting to pick up. I see fewer “store opening” events and product launches--probably a result of the shaky economy--and more charity events, film premieres and screenings. I also see a trend toward more intimate events that let people talk to each other rather than the 500- to 1,000-guest, loud, impersonal type of events.

People do, however, want to have fun--we saw that firsthand at a screening we did for I Am Sam the week following New Year's Eve. We had the party following the screening at Spa, and Rufus Wainwright and the Chocolate Genius performed. We planned to end at midnight, but people kept dancing and having fun until two in the morning!

Are any new trends emerging in terms of the types of event you plan?

Not really, just an increased effort to curb costs and not seem overly extravagant.

Are people spending more or less overall? Where are they cutting corners?

It depends on the event, but I think overall people are being cautious about spending too much money. I have noticed that there is more room to negotiate venue and catering costs because there is less business and everyone is anxious to keep working.

What is your favorite annual event in New York?

I always love the big Costume Institute ball at the Met.

Posted 02.26.02

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