Valentino, THR Host Second Annual 'Power of Style' Luncheon
Actresses Cobie Smulders and Ashley Greene joined top Hollywood execs including Warner Bros.' Sue Kroll and Universal's Donna Langley at the intimate Beverly Hills event benefiting Dress for Success.
On Wednesday, a slew of Hollywood's biggest executives, producers and agents ditched their BlackBerry's and iPhones to enjoy The Hollywood Reporter's intimate Power of Style luncheon held at Valentino's Beverly Hills flagship boutique.
The second annual event celebrated THR's just-out style feature, "Power Dressing at the Top of the Ladder," which examines how Hollywood's top female execs have shed their once-stereotypical sensible pumps in favor of feminine, yet still professional looks from the likes of Marni, Jimmy Choo and yes, Valentino, too.
"I like to dress for comfort and pick what feels right at that particular moment," said Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, president of distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures International, who joined colleague Sue Kroll, Warner Bros.' president of worldwide marketing and international distribution, at the midday festivities. "It's really about how I feel, and depends on whether I have formal or casual meetings."
Industry compatriots at Wednesday's lunch -- which was held on Valentino's airy, mirrored second floor designed by noted British architect David Chipperfield -- included Universal TV chief Bela Bajaria, Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley, Showtime executive vp corporate communications Trisha Cardoso, HBO senior vp of media relations Nancy Lesser, Warner Bros. executive vp of marketing Blair Rich, 3 Arts' Molly Madden, the Gersh Agency's Leslie Siebert and Slate PR's Ina Treciokas. How I Met Your Mother actress Cobie Smulders and Twilight star Ashley Greene were also on hand.
"I'm so impressed that [THR and Valentino] were able to get all these busy, powerful women in one room at the same time," Greene said, clad in a floral embroidered Valentino dress that she was "obsessed" with. The starlet agreed with THR senior style writer Merle Ginsberg, who penned the magazine's "Power of Style" piece, that power and style indeed go hand in hand.
"Style is empowering," Greene said. "There's something about clothes that you feel good in that gives you that extra boost of confidence. I really love that there's a focus on that within our industry now."
The roomful of powerful ladies nibbled a light lunch of kale salad, chicken breast roulade provencal (or foraged mushroom risotto for the vegetarians in the group) and gold-dusted vegan carob truffles for dessert. Some even enjoyed a glass (or two) of Perrier Jouet.
All agreed on one very important point: when getting dressed, comfort is key. "I like to be stylish and comfortable, [which] usually starts with what my day looks like," said Langley, wearing a Tom Ford sweater.
Bajaria, who wore a Michael Kors top and Diane von Furstenburg slacks, echoed the same thought: "[Before coming here], I went with, 'Will I be comfortable in this?' Before and after this, I'll be at meetings so I brought my Indian bangles to spruce it up a little bit. Ultimately, it was about being comfortable." The colorful arm candy, it turned out, was procured from the Cerritos vintage boutique owned by Bajaria's mother.
Cardoso, who mixed a Vince top with Topshop patterned pants and Christian Dior pumps, concurred. "For these kinds of events, I like to wear clothes that I feel comfortable in and that show my personality."
Flanking the edges of the table-filled room were a trio of models clad in Valentino's sheer panel shift dresses and black-and-white glittering tuxedo-inspired gowns perfect for impending awards season work obligations.
"That top is unbelievable," cooed UTA motion picture agent and partner Blair Kohan to DreamWorks Animation producer Latifa Ouaou, who wore an understated feathered creation by producer Stephanie Danan's Co label.
"I just went to her spring preview and grabbed it off the rack," Ouaou said of the find, just before jumping up to reveal a pair of sophisticated black wide-leg pants that streamlined the ensemble. "I told her, I'm leaving with this. And I did."
As Kohan (who planned on changing from her maroon-hued Prada slacks into more casual maroon-hued Rag & Bone jeans after lunch) and Intuition Productions president Keri Selig traded tales about "the best on-call tailor in town," Valentino store manager Kathy Gohari was busy showing off Smulders' killer stems.
"I can't stop thinking about your legs in that dress!" Gohari exclaimed to the room, as the actress stood and smiled in a red pleated Valentino number.
Once the last vegan truffle was consumed and guests were given boxes of macarons celebrating THR's soon-to-launch style website, Pret-a-Reporter, a selection of guests -- including THR editorial director Janice Min -- stayed to peruse the shop's shoe selection in an effort to support Dress for Success, the nonprofit professional women's dress organization that received 10 percent of the afternoon's proceeds.
Comfort may have been the golden rule of the day. But Universal's Langley had one parting piece of fashion sage advice:
"It's all about the accessories."
The event was sponsored by Valentino and Perrier Jouet.