It’s not often that an invitation to an exclusive gifting suite for the Oscars, comes knocking at the door. But in my case (and a little help from LookbookLA.com) , I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a gifting suite, hosted by Runway Magazine, held on the 20thand 21st of February. So, not only do I get a taste of “stardom” if you will, but I also had a rare opportunity to step inside Liberace’s Penthouse. The penthouse is owned by a friend of Runway ‘s President- James Buccelli. Runway also has offices in the space. Some amenities of this venue include a mirrored hallway, small pool and a breathtaking 360 degree view of the Hollywood Hills.
I caught up with James out by the pool. He started Runway Magazine two years ago. The company is also doing a TV show that will teach the viewers how to start a magazine…from concept to creation. Runway has been doing the Oscar gifting suit annually, along with suites for the Emmies and Grammies. He explained that Runway’s Gifting Suites are different from others. It’s not about making money, it’s about everyone having a good time. It’s where the celebrities can come and not be bombarded…People can relax, eat sushi or other award-winning catered foods or even take a dip in the pool. The goal is also to help promote the clients, whether they be the celebrities, PR firms, stylists, media or a certain product.
Speaking of clients promoting their goods n’ wares, I would like to start off with artist Juan de Lascurain. De Lascurain, a native of Mexico, paints (on canvas and clothing) and has a television show called, “Dream Big”-available in twenty-three Spanish-speaking countries. He also has a “Dream Big” night on Thursdays at a gallery in Culver City. He does high-end and acrylic paintings, along with digital designs. About a year ago, he began painting his vibrant designs on clothing. Six years ago, he founded, Vida Youth, which helps to inspire people. He gets his inspiration everywhere. He loves life and from where he’s from, the Latin people love life. He wants people to follow their dreams. He says that if you have a dream, faith and you work hard…you can accomplish anything. Check him out at www.delascurain.com and www.vidayouth.com.
Since California is a “Green” state, then it would only be appropriate to have at least one eco-friendly company at the gifting suite. Darleen Reilly, president of Agreenday.org was giving out Globo Bags- reusable dry-cleaning bags made from recycled plastic bottles and valued at $125. She was approached by Mandy (from Runway) at the GoGreen Expo. She loved the bags and loved the fact that Darleen’s products are 100% American madeand insisted that Darleen be apart of the gifting suite. Celebrities that own this piece of dry-cleaning phenomenon include: Russell Simmons, First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah, Tyler Perry and Jennifer Hudson; just to name a few. If you would like to purchase the “Globo Bag” or other Earth-friendly bags (made from Organic Cotton), go to www.Agreenday.org.
Another vendor, selling fun tattoo-inspired hats was ZZPrado. Designer Elizabeth Prado was on hand to tell me a little about her line. She offers: ZZ Prado Men/ Women and Swimwear, though her best sellers are her one-of-a-kind hats, which sold for $65 at the show, but are $100 on up regular price. She is a very creative person and there’s not a moment when she’s not inspired. Her collection can be viewed at www.zzprado.com.
And then there were shoes…well, sexy and sophisticated high-heeled boots to be exact. Some were Western-style, others were fur-trimmed or if you preferred some blinged-out heels; those were on hand as well. Monique Capelta is the creative head and CEO behind the company, Capelta. It all started in NYC, when she went to a Goodwill, picked up a pair of boots and some pieces of leather and the rest they say…is history… This past Christmas, she got her first shipment of product and this is her first launch. Her funky, edgy and rock star boots range from $395 – 2,200. Her online store is www.capelta.com.
When I walked inside, I noticed a table with rows of creatively designed hats. The designer was Anita Hopkins, of Anita Hopkins Millinery. She has been designing all her life, but turned her hobby into a career twenty years ago. Her hats are chic, elegant and versatile. She wants to create hats that have a new modern twist. One of her signature hats is the Confederate hat, which resembles the uniform hat worn by the Confederate Army during the Civil War. It is very versatile; can be worn sideways or with the brim in the back. Her hats have graced the heads of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including: Pink, Janet Jackson, Dave Navarro, just to name a few. The hats range from $385 – 450, more if you want it customized. Her hats are available online at www.anitahopkinsla.com.
While I was walking around, taking in the sites, I noticed a girl doing an interview, while showing off her handmade handbags. After the interview, I had the opportunity to also talk to her about the bags. Her name is Jenn Bagby of BagbyRoyal Handbags. She has been in business for six years on and off. Like Ms. Prado, Jenn too, finds inspiration in everything, from a building to another designer…even to a random thought. She loves working with upholstery and cotton silks, depending on her mood. One of her signature pieces is a purse with a long tulle veil. I thought it was a very unique piece and is what caught my eye in the first place. This is her first gifting suite and she was very excited to be a part of it. Her handmade creations range from $50- 200. Her website, www.bagbyroyal.comis currently under construction, but she does have a myspace page.
Special thanks to: James Buccelli, Brad Barker, Mandy and the rest of the staff of Runway Magazine (www.runwaymagazinela.com), the kind people of Park West for providing complimentary valet parking for the event, Hydrodynamics, Moxxor, Monavie, Jeff Knight Photography, J-Star Media, Sashi Sushi of Manhattan Beach, gift bags donated by Shoes for the Stars.