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For Oscars, L.A. Is Swag Central

If the Academy Awards in Los Angeles were any indication, the gift suites that pop up around big award events show no sign of stopping—with pampering products and jewels as the most popular items. For the Red Carpet '05 suite presented by Premiere and Elle, executive producers Ryan Black and Dana Miller transformed an area in West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center into a spa lounge. At a separate men's salon, Crown Royal supplied cocktails and haircuts.

Shoemaker Stuart Weitzman, who participated in an Oscar suite for the sixth year even though he has a local shoe boutique, explained why he's a believer. "They absolutely work," he said, minutes after Desperate Housewives’ Eva Longoria left with a pair of silvery evening sandals. "The stylists just don't know what they want or when they want it, and we have to be here to make it easy for them. And when you make it easy for them, you end up being on the red carpet."

At Frederic Fekkai's Rodeo Drive salon, guests indulged in an array of beauty services coordinated by Fekkai's Jennifer Mayer, with Chanel and Full Picture, from updos to microdermabrasion. A few blocks away, the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel was the site of a variety of suites that brought together New York's Mario Badescu Skin Care and L.A.’s new M Aesthetics spa. In the Bacardi lounge, Nailtini sponsored ornate manicures while celebrities and stylists surveyed more than $10 million worth of jewelry in the National Colored Diamond Association's suite.

At a private residence in the Hollywood Hills, Music and Commerce produced a retreat for Bluefish Concierge with gourmet pastries by Divine Decadence and a multimillion dollar display of diamonds by Levinson Jewelers. At the “Oscar Time Award Suites” produced by Monkeys in Pants, one jeweler, Dima, had to pack up early after it lent all of its goods to red carpet walkers. And for all the fans of Texas Hold 'Em—quite popular in Hollywood—D&E Casino Services held a poker game every night.
Posted 03.02.05
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