The Gifting Suite: An Awards Staple

Gabourey Sidibe, the lead of “Precious.”

Oscar fever is over, but memories surface with media images for the year to come, especially from the gifting suites.

If you’re a Hollywood insider, you and your entourage run around town to upscale hotels, pose, and collect the goods. This is not just an Oscar thing; the suites are year round. Next: GLAAD Awards.

Even with the recession, Hollywood pulled out all the stops for the recent suites, a three–way marriage made in Hollywood between actors, vendors and charities.  Where else can an actor receive jewelry/a luxury vacation, the newest watch, a manicure/spray tan and have lunch in the same venue? It’s a one-stop shopping event!

At the crème de la crème spot, The Four Seasons hosted “Style Lab,” an annual Oscar jewelry suite, an intimate private party for 40 of the elite. Michael O’Connor, fashion and style guru and a QVC regular, hosted. Suite products: Erica Courtney, Neil Lane, Gem Platinum, Vichy Laboratories, and La Roche-Posay. Said New York based O’Connor, “Classic is always the best way to go. It never goes out of style.”  Insider scoop: “Avatar” and “Star Trek” borrowed some of the Style Lab creations for the Oscars.

In addition to big business, charity is a key. GBK Productions founder Gavin B. Keilly, said, “Gaby Sidibe (“Precious” nominee) has a heart of gold and she wants to make a difference. And that’s one of the reasons we incorporate charities; we give 20% back.” GBK worked with 5 charities, including. $35,000 for Haiti Relief, so far.

“People are looking for new ways to market their product, so they are spending more money on gift lounges because they see a return on their investment,” said Keilly. “RevitaLash (one word) spent $60,000 with us last year. They got back 2.1 million dollars based upon all the free press they received from celebrities.”

With in-house live tweets, GBK booked the new W Hotel Hollywood. The two-day event was capped off with a celeb poker tourney. Best gift: Four days at the Villa Vita Parc Resort & Spa in the Algarve, Portugal. Three other vacations were offered.

Said Mary Beth York, founder of the Scottsdale based Beauty Ammo, who gave brow demonstrations at the Everything Aesthetics Lounge, “With the economy the way it is, it wasn’t a gifting suite, it seemed more like a looting suite! People were practically stealing my gift bags. I needed a body guard.” The other popular booth was Cape Cod Leather, who gifted celebrities with stunning purses/totes.

Promoter Amy Boatwright’s Intercontinental Hotel’s “Secret Room” attracted “The Blind Side’s” Quinton Aaron, “Gray’s Anatomy’s” Sara Ramirez, “CSI Miami’s” Sophia Milos, Charlotte Ross and even Tila Tequila.

 “Brothers and Sisters’” Giles Marini attended the London’s Green Suite and others. “My wife can be queen for a day. She loves this stuff…”

One of the prestigious suites did not want to be included in a group roundup. We were allowed to observe and can report that that they gave away luggage, trips and plastic surgery treatments, which attracted big names.

Sarah Palin brought a large entourage to one of the suites. She requested that they open two hours early to suit her schedule.

Sue Facter writes about all things A-list for publications world-wide. Follow her on Twitter @TheFacter.


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