October 17, 2016: How Celebrity Wedding Planners Are Fighting Off Paparazzi Drones, Why Virtual-Reality Vacations Are On the Rise, Latest Fashion Week Runway Shows See a Small Step for Inclusion

By Ian Zelaya October 17, 2016, 8:50 AM EDT

1. HOW CELEBRITY WEDDING PLANNERS ARE FIGHTING OFF PAPARAZZI DRONES: Despite F.A.A. regulations, drones manned by paparazzi are still finding their way over celebrity weddings. Notable planners including Marcy Blum and JoAnn Gregoli have come up with unusual strategies—including actual birds—to prevent drones from crashing the private affairs. Vanity Fair: The most poetic solution that’s emerged is birds—real, live birds, trained to take out unmanned aircraft of a certain size without harming themselves. The Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in France, charged with protecting the privacy of art collector Alberto ‘Tico’ Mugrabi and fashion blogger Colby Jordan, along with their many famous guests, at their September nuptials, reportedly hired falcons that could swoop in and nab the intruding machines. Blum has researched this option, but hasn’t hired any birds of prey as of yet. ‘I know this is going to sound so stupid, but I’m an animal rights person,’ she said. ‘So I was like, well I’m not going to use falcons or eagles, but as it turns out the animals are fine. And they basically drag them down as if they’re prey.’ JoAnn Gregoli, the celebrity wedding planner at the helm of Elegant Occasions, who has dealt with paparazzi’s drone tactics at star-studded events over the past few years, read about the practice as well. She finds the efforts of her European counterparts “really cool,” but hasn’t found a readily accessible service stateside, she told Vanity Fair over the phone. In the absence of birds, she’s developed her own way to deal with the nuisance: defense drones. Gregoli came to the solution as a matter of necessity. While putting on a Hamptons wedding over a year ago, she heard the low thrum of the drone, then spotted it above her tents. Her preferred method is to either chase the drone away or block its lens, but the two aircraft often collide. Gregoli admits to ‘a few’ drone casualties. “What happens with the drone-on-drone [fight] is one drone is going to get hurt or damaged because it’s got to come down. You hope it’s not yours,” she said, adding that the ‘tech guys’ she hires to man them have gotten better at diverting and blocking since this first instance.” http://bit.ly/2ef4O5w

2. WHY VIRTUAL-REALITY VACATIONS ARE ON THE RISE: Instead of guide books and travel brochures, vacation destinations and airlines are enticing visitors with virtual-reality vacation experiences. CNBC: “If nothing else, VR can be a time-saver for travelers, said Bjorn Hanson, professor of hospitality and tourism at New York University's Tisch Center. ‘They can know what to expect and can allocate time to those activities they would like to visit at the destination.’ While arguably not as good as the real thing, virtual trips ‘can help give people a more immersive sense of a destination, so they may then want to go and experience it firsthand themselves,’ said Sebastian Naylor, online marketing director for Lonely Planet. Potential destinations range from Connecticut's Mohegan Sun casino and entertainment resort, to Las Vegas, British Columbia and the South Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia. All of them have VR experiences they hope will transform viewers into visitors. … The technology's rising popularity is swelling the ranks of destinations telling their story with virtual really apps is growing. Las Vegas is one destination using VR as a ‘try before you buy’ marketing tool. The city's Vegas VR app—which features activities such as zip lining through the Fremont Street Experience to being serenaded on a gondola ride the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. In August, when the National Park Service celebrated its centennial, National Geographic introduced a VR journey shot during a trip President Barack Obama made to Yosemite National Park with his family. Separately, YouVisit, has created VR features about a clutch of different cities, including West Hollywood, Houston, New York City, Machu Picchu and Paris.” http://cnb.cx/2e9iWeV

3. LATEST FASHION WEEK RUNWAY SHOWS SEE A SMALL STEP FOR INCLUSION: A biannual diversity report for the spring and summer 2017 fashion week runway shows in New York, Paris, London, and Milan showed that 25.4 percent of model castings were people of color—making it the first time in recent history more than 25 percent of castings were models of color. The report examined 299 runway shows and 8,832 models. The Fashion Spot: “Of the four major fashion capitals, New York had the highest diversity rating by far (30.3 percent models of color), notwithstanding a slight dip in the percentage of models of color cast from Fall 2016 (31.9 percent) to Spring 2017. Paris came in a distant second (24.1 percent models of color), trailed closely by London (23.5 percent models of color). In Milan, which consistently falls at the bottom of the pile, only 20.9 percent models of color walked the runways. This marks the first time since we began crunching the numbers in October 2014 that New York’s upward trend toward racial inclusion has stumbled. (An especially puzzling development, given the CFDA’s explicit call for change.) Still, it is encouraging that Milan and Paris have now seen steady improvements season over season since Spring 2015. Even more so that London, which was less diverse for the Fall 2016 season (with 19.9 percent models of color) than prior seasons, saw a 3.6 percent increase in the number of nonwhite model castings for Spring 2017—the most significant jump of any city. London’s move toward inclusion on the runways is especially poignant given the rise in racially motivated hate crimes in the capital following Great Britain’s recent decision to leave the European Union.” http://bit.ly/2exJnfx


COAST TO COAST:  Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has promoted Kathleen Reidenbach to chief commercial officer. She was senior vice president of marketing.

Hilton has announced that the 750 properties across its All Suites brands—Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, and Home2Suites—will recycle discarded soap and amenity bottles and donate them to reduce hygiene-related illnesses for communities in need. It is an expansion that will now include 1,370 hotels participating across Hilton’s portfolio.

CHICAGO:  The 25th annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival will take place November 19. The festival also will host activities at Pioneer Court on November 18.

DALLAS/FORT WORTH:  Civitas Capital Group and Atlantic Hotels Group are developing a new 256-room dual-branded AC by Marriott Dallas North and Residence Inn by Dallas North that will open in 2018 adjacent to the Galleria Dallas.

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA:  DoubleTree by Hilton Gainesville is now open. The 205-room hotel has 1,986 square feet of meeting space in rooms that can accommodate as many as 80 people, as well as an indoor/outdoor space that can hold 125 people for receptions.

LAS VEGAS:  The Las Vegas Fashion Council's third annual Fashion Focus Forum event will take place tonight at West Charleston Public Library. The event, which is hosted by the Junior League of Las Vegas, will feature a fashion industry expert panel geared toward students interested in fashion careers.

Old Dominion and Sawyer Brown will headline the 30th annual Downtown Hoedown, the official kickoff to Wrangler National Finals Rodeo week in Las Vegas, on November 30.

LOS ANGELES:  R.F.I.D. in Aerospace and Defense 2016 will be held Thursday at the Long Beach Convention Center. Delta Air Lines, the U.S. Air Force, and Northrop Grumman are among the organizations that will participate in the conference. A pre-conference session for fast-track R.F.I.D. training will take place Wednesday.

Hilton Anaheim has named Frost Williams senior sales manager for the Midwest market.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The Salvation Army’s Fourth Annual Red Shield ReDesign Bash will take place Friday at the Galleria at Fort Lauderdale. The event, hosted by Ty Pennington, will have public bidding on furniture and home accessories that have been redesigned as art pieces.

Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club, Surfside, Florida, is now accepting guest reservations for arrivals that begin March 27, 2017. Reed Kandalaft is the general manager of the resort, which is located in the North Beach neighborhood, and has 77 guest accommodations, 900 feet of beach area, and nine acres of landscaped seaside gardens.

Fort Lauderdale Home Design and Remodeling Show will take place November 18-20 at the Broward County Convention Center. Speakers will include celebrity interior designer Taniya Nayak.

NEW YORK:  The Ella Fitzgerald tribute concert 100: the Apollo Celebrates Ella will take place Saturday at the Apollo Theater. The event, hosted by David Alan Grier and Patti Austin, will include performances by Austin, Andra Day, Lizz Wright, Cassandra Wilson, Monica Mancini, and Kevin Spacey.

This year's Diffa National Grant Reception will take place November 15 at Current at Chelsea Piers.

The seventh annual DocNYC, a film festival for documentaries, will take place November 10-17 at the IFC Center, SVA Theatre, and Cinepolis Chelsea.

The 10th Annual Other Israel Film Festival will take place at various locations around Manhattan from December 1-8. The event showcases movies about Israeli society from Israeli filmmakers. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  Luke's Kitchen and Bar, a new restaurant from chef Brandon McGlamery of Prato and Luma on Park, will open this winter in Maitland.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA:  The International Association of Emergency Managers' 64th annual conference kicked off Friday and runs through Wednesday at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center.

SAN DIEGO:  The San Diego Convention Center Corporation has partnered with Smart City Networks to offer custom digital advertising at the venue. The program includes large-format projection displays above exhibit hall entrances, as well as high-resolution video welcome messaging.

SEATTLE:  Hyatt Regency—developed and operated by R.C. Hedreen Company—is slated to open in mid-2018 in the Denny Triangle neighborhood at Eighth and Ninth avenues between Stewart and Howell streets. The hotel will have 1,260 guest rooms, more than 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event facilities, multiple food and beverage outlets, and a Regency Club lounge.

TORONTO:  The second annual Eatable Film Festival will take place October 22-25. The festival will offer immersive screening events at Royal Cinema with film-inspired food from chefs including John Horne of Canoe, Rocco Agostino of Pizzeria Libretto, and James Santon of Enoteca Sociale. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, has named Brad Mettler director of sales and marketing. He was director of sales and marketing for the Grand Hyatt New York.

The Michelin Guide has added a Washington, D.C., edition, marking the fourth American city (after New York, Chicago, and San Francisco) to have its own guide. The Washington Michelin Guide selected 107 eateries in the D.C. metropolitan area. The three local restaurants that received two Michelin stars are the Inn at Little Washington, Minibar, and Pineapple & Pearls. The nine local restaurants that received one Michelin star are Blue Duck Tavern, the Dabney, Kinship, Fiola, Masseria, Plume, Rose’s Luxury, Sushi Taro, and Tail Up Goat.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Carla Hay, Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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