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Lauren London& Shari Misher

"The more you do events, the harder it is to get an interesting crowd there." --Lauren London, London Misher Public Relations

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Lauren London and Shari Misher don't just lure the popular and powerful to their velvet-roped parties--they're a part of that group themselves.

London and Misher, along with a staff of four at London Misher Public Relations' offices in the East 50s, promote high-brow accounts like the TriBeCa Grand and SoHo Grand hotels, Lot 61 and the Bridgehampton Polo Club. Although the partners only started the firm in June 1997, they are already known for producing hot events like an Entertainment Weekly Oscar party and the launch party for Francois Nars' photography book X-Ray.

Both women mix the PR tricks they learned during three-year stints at Bobby Zarem's Zarem Inc. with their extensive personal contacts and their experiences growing up in New York's social scene. London (born in 1971) is a Dalton girl whose father is financier and club owner Stanley London, and Misher (1970) grew up in wealthy Woodmere, Long Island.

Their early success and exclusive backgrounds made London and Misher targets of a dishy New York magazine cover story in December 1998. They were grouped with other young socialite publicists in a sorority-type clique--a la Sex and the City--who have risen to the top using daddy's speed dial and large trust funds. But London and Misher deny that the article contained much truth. "It was not a fair portrayal of people who work very hard," Misher says.

Although London Misher handles a lot of traditional PR accounts, it's their glitzy bashes that get them the most press. They have completely produced the annual Bridgehampton Polo Club Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge since 1997, handling everything from getting tents and caterers to putting together guest lists and publicity campaigns.

For whatever event they are planning, London and Misher work on building a foundation for it. "As an organizer the most important part is that it's clear what [the event] is," London says. "A lot of these dot-coms [did] launch parties at some hotspot, but you [left] not knowing what the dot-com is. I think those are ridiculous wastes of money." To that end, London and Misher limit the number of events they plan so they can dedicate the three to five months necessary to truly promote it. "We tend to have 10 to 15 major events a year, as opposed to PR firms that will sometimes have two or three events a week," Misher says.

London also points to another reason for limiting their workload: "The more you pitch the same type of thing to the same crowd of people, the harder it is to get a good response, which is why we don't handle 10 beauty accounts or 10 restaurants," she says. "How many times can you go to a beauty editor and say this is the best lipstick? Once--or you lose your credibility."

To populate its parties, the firm keeps a primary database of 6,000 names and supplementary databases that total in the tens of thousands. Entries include personal contacts, people they've sought out and others who have requested to be on their lists.

But just having the names doesn't mean you can get people to show up. So how do London and Misher lure them to events? "I like to think that all of the events we do are interesting in and of themselves, so they attract high-profile people," says Misher. London adds, "We don't invite people to events we don't think they will be interested in. So when we do get on the phone and ask people to attend something, they know it will be an event they will enjoy."

One client raves about London and Misher's hostess abilities more than their celebrity guest lists: "There's always someone to greet you," says Amy Sacco, the owner of Lot 61 and a client since the still-hot club opened in 1998. "There's never a problem with the door or the guest list. There are flowing drinks and lots of food. They walk people through the room to make sure they know everyone."

"If people can't get a drink or food and the event is already negative in their heads, it doesn't matter how many celebrities are there," says Sacco, whose club hasn't had any shortage of bold-faced names as guests. "But there are always celebrities at Shari and Lauren's events."

Posted 06.25.01

Photo by Patrick McMullan