Oscar gifting suites offer traditional gratis goods


The holidays are already a distant memory, but Hollywood's gifting season is in full swing.

In January, when it became clear that the Golden Globes ceremony and broadcast would fall victim to the writers strike, gifting-suite producers rallied, deciding to raise money for ailing writers guild members, and despite recent developments that promise a resolution to the labor struggle, several of this year's Oscar suites are doing the same.

"Our suite will happen no matter what," says Neal Public Relations president Roger Neal, who, along with partners Lynn Neal and Anita Talbert, is producing the SHM Red Carpet Suite, running through Sunday at the Luxe Hotel in Beverly Hills. "We are thrilled to be able to use our suite for Oscar week to raise money for the writers."

Neal's designer clients -- including Natalie K Diamonds, Nicole Barr B.E.L.T.S. and Maggie Ferrari Jewelry Design -- are donating items for stars to wear on the red carpet, and those items will be auctioned off to benefit scribes who have been out of work. Naturally, the suite is providing plenty of pre-awards pampering as well: Iduna Medical Aesthetics is administering spa treatments, and Twin Magic Lashes is doing eyelash extensions, while Joico has celebrity hairstylists tending to stars' coiffures.

GBK Prods.' Gift Suite, whose past attendees have included Leonardo DiCaprio, Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker, runs through Saturday at Hollywood's Boulevard3 and also will donate to the writers. Goods on offer include wrinkle cream by 3Lab, Barbar hairstyling tools, sunglasses by Cinzia Designs, Heineken minikegs and, certainly one of the most coveted items, Apple iPhones.

"This Oscar gifting suite is all about honoring the actors for their accomplishments throughout the year," GBK president and CEO Gavin Keilly says. "We are pleased, as always, to be helping numerous nonprofits by giving 20% of our revenue to the writers guild, Global Green, Leeza's Place and Educating Young Minds."

The Make-a-Wish Foundation is benefiting from the Silver Spoon Pre-Oscar Suite, which counts Keira Knightley and Teri Hatcher among its past attendees. Concluding today, the suite is the first event to debut at the reborn Kress building, a landmark structure that formerly housed Frederick's of Hollywood and, after $2 million in renovations, is set to reopen as a nightclub in March.

Silver Spoon sponsors include T3 Hair, whose stylists are offering haircuts and blow-outs, and Cosminology, which is doing makeup applications; facials are on the menu as well, courtesy of Adorage skin care. Celebrity attendees are also nabbing cashmere goods by Magaschoni, jewelry by Jessica Elliot and luggage by Titan.

Naturally, jewelers also get in on the Oscar festivities, hoping to outfit celebrities in the perfect red-carpet baubles.

Leviev kicked off its Oscar-week festivities on Tuesday at West Hollywood's Sunset Tower Hotel with a party celebrating photographer Patrick McMullan's new book, "Glamour Girls." Stylists were on hand to help stars choose from among some of the jeweler's one-of-a-kind pieces -- showcased by models who mingled with guests during the event -- to wear on the big night.

Platinum Guild International is not hosting its traditional jewelry-loaning suite this Oscar season, opting instead to send jewelry and style expert Michael O'Connor to the homes of nominees, presenters and stylists for personal jewelry consultations and fittings. O'Connor is offering a selection of red-carpet jewelry by such renowned designers as Erica Courtney, Hearts on Fire, Neil Lane, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Franck Muller and Sol Rafael.

Whether the stars come out to get gifted or let the goods come to them at home, Oscar suites are sure to provide a welcome bit of fun and frivolity in what has, until recently, been a rather subdued awards season. And with struggling writers and other good causes also on the receiving end, they can indulge with a clean conscience.