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Julian Fellowes, Masterpiece Theater’s Rebecca Easton, Downton producer Gareth Naeme and the exquisite Michelle Dockery were spied filing into the private dining room at the Four Seasons Doheny, for a fete honoring Downton Abbey, the darling of British television — and American — and all over the world. It was hosted by the creators of Britweek, which will be held at the end of April this year, and put together by Brit powerhouse PR Caroline Graham, and brought out British directors, producers, journalists and heavyweights — including Nigel Lythgoe, acting as unofficial host.
Dockery was front and center with a new bobbed haircut, cut bluntly to between her ears and her chin — she looked startlingly modern in contrast to Lady Mary. In a black-and-white Stella McCartney sheath, she was tall and willowy, with a strong red lip completing the very 2013 look. “I don’t always wear British designers,” Dockery told THR, “but if it’s a party for Britweek, followed by the BAFTA tea — well, you have to concede.” As for the hair chopping: “I’m in a movie with Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore, and I play a flight attendant — so this seemed an appropriate look. The producers of Downton said it’s fine, as we’re about to move into the 1920s and this look will be Lady Mary’s modernization.” There were rounds of speeches toasting Downton, but nobody gives good speech like its creator Fellowes, who is so charming, he almost leaves Lord Grantham in the dust. Almost.
SATURDAY, 2 P.M.:
The Downton crew filed out at 2 p.m. into Culina, the hotel’s main restaurant, stopping to chat with 42 West’s PR chief Leslee Dart, lunching with the Academy Award booker Danette Herman, across from HBO’s Nancy Lesser and Quentin Schaffer catching a quick bite. Then all wandered into the BAFTA tea, which — well, if it could have had a better attendance, we can’t imagine what that would look like. At one point, Daniel Day-Lewis and Marion Cotillard were chatting at the entrance to the tea (Day-Lewis with his wife, Rebecca Miller), next to Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper, who were having an impassioned discussion about acting — so impassioned they barely realized there were cameras clicking away fast and furious. Jennifer Lawrence departed early to get dressed for the LA Critics Awards, and Amanda Seyfried had to rush out to her Globes rehearsal. But Benedict Cumberbatch stayed and talked to fellow Brit thespian Thandie Newton, and there was certainly a lot more excitement around him than when he turned up at the same event last year — a virtual unknown then, and a virtual star now. Day-Lewis actually was beaming in a light-gray suit and shook the hand of everyone who wanted to meet him. He’s got the grin of a winner — wide and frequent. The room was a whirl of execs, PRs, camera dudes and journalists — and when Ben Affleck arrived with Ken Sunshine, things got even more buzzy and hyper. This event gets bigger every year, and keeps out-A-listing itself. Olivia Munn wore a chic black-and-white Escada pants number, as the German brand was one of the sponsors. And Sienna Miller turned up in a lovely pink tea dress.
SATURDAY, 6 P.M.:
The early evening Weinstein Co. party at Mr. C was slightly sedate in contrast — a more muffled adult scene, with spottings of David O. Russell, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and of course Harvey Weinstein looking quite svelte despite the plethora of little pizzas and fried cheese balls being passed around the room. Django Unchained star Kerry Washington commanded all eyes in a spring 2013 Marc Jacobs orange over-the-knee shift dress covered in white lace. “My stylist is Erin Walsh,” she told THR when we asked about her amazing Django promotional wardrobe, “and we do it all together, I do a lot of the choosing. I love fashion and I have strong opinions there. Wait till you see my dress tomorrow! I’m in love with it.”
SATURDAY, 7:30 P.M.:
We ended the night at the Selma House at the Chateau Marmont, a new little cottage off the hotel that the Gold Council has inhabited with jewelry and displays and good champagne, where Game Change co-star Sarah Polley popped in to pay tribute to the redheaded star, Julianne Moore, who came with her husband, Bart Freundlich, and her amazing manager Evelyn O’Neill, who also works with Reese Witherspoon and Michael Chiklis, among others. The Gold Council’s Sally Morrison hosted in a gold-colored satin L’Wren Scott dress with a very chinoiserie feeling. Moore was swathed in a stark dramatic geometic architectural Givenchy cocktail dress with flaps on either side that fell away from the body, and her hair was looking very long and very straight. “I’m glad I did a juice fast for the last few days,” laughed Moore. “I ate a lot over the holidays, and there’s no time to recover!” Well-wishers kept telling her she would win the Globe for Game Change on Sunday, but she winced every time she heard this. “I’m afraid it’s going to jinx it!” she giggled. Not very likely.
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Zar Amir Ebrahimi
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