With the Academy Awards upon us, it's freebie time again. This year, star wattage was considerably lower than in previous years though there was no shortage of gifting suites around town. Was the low-keyness due to the country's economic situation? Were publicists hesitant about having their clients be seen collecting goodies while their fans are possibly losing homes and jobs? Still, the show must go on which means the swag must go on. Contributing writer Leah Sydney and myself have brought you the 2009 Oscar Swag Awards.
The 2009 Swag Award for "Best Overall Variety" goes to:
2009 Academy Award Red Carpet Style Lounge: Held by the Secret Room Events and the SLS Hotel, this suite had something for everyone.
Highlights: A stay at Raffles Resort in the Canouan Island in the Grenadines, baby clothes by Three Peas Company, bikinis by both Hula-la Swimwear and Gossip Collection, complimentary membership to Exhale Spa, the latest styles of Croc shoes for adults, organic skincare from Athena, gift cards for laser services at New Age Aesthetics, Elie's Papel note cards, a dual sex toy called We-Vive that is to be worn by the woman while making love, contouring lingerie from Du Mi, jewelry by Calypso Studios, the Commandos patch for the inside of your jeans and pants in case you want to forgo the undies and go, you know, commando......
The 2009 Oscar Swag Award for "Most Unique" goes to:
Haven: Located at a private residence in Beverly Hills, this suite featured many never-before seen items that are actually useful. The Creative Coalition was there to shoot a PSA campaign (directed by Fisher Stevens), which celebs could participate in to help encourage public funding for the arts.
Highlights: The Phifer Reader, a portable book holder and stand, Zapi, the toothbrush sanitizer whose UV light destroys germs, services from American Laser Centers, a VIP card to receive private training sessions with a vibrational device known as the Power Plate. There was also Cure's Natural Aqua Gel, Butler Bags with enough compartments so that you don't need Jeeves, Bandal's sandals with changeable straps, Hoover vacuum's new Platinum Collection, Foster Grant sunglasses and Bay Area artists Keren Barukh jewelry made with vibrant stones designed to match your skin tone, hair and eye color. Then there was Bam Bag's Zippurse line of handbags made entirely out of one continuous zipper roll that can be stripped down to the core.
The 2009 Oscar Swag Award for "Best Charity Tie-In" goes to:
GBK: Gavin B. Keilly's GBK Productions continued with their philanthropically themed suites at the SLS Hotel with not one but four charities including Hollywood Dreamz, Homeless Not Toothless, the World Team Foundation and Fuqua Films Program (yes, filmmaker Antoine Fuqua was there).
Highlights: Pur-lisse Chinese skin care, Rolling Razors, Senseo Coffee Machines, Earth Kit for Kids and Tri-Specs way cool sunglasses that blend stereo headphones with Bluetooth functionality. Also, Textiles for Thinkers T-shirts with science and math themes as seen on the CBS TV series, 'The Big Bang Theory,' Athena Alexander sandals. The jewelry included; Dara Ettinger's organic jewelry, Croton "Pearlstar" watches, Barbara Conner's Tahitian and Fresh water pearls on leather and silver and gold chains (not your Grandma's pearls!). Plenty of art about, including Rock Our World quartz crystal altars, Nourot Art Glass and Pop Artist Steve Kaufman, a one-time assistant to Andy Warhol. Dr. Chiu's Beverly Hill Plastic Surgery also made a return appearance.
The 2009 Oscar Swag Award for "Funkiest Suite" goes to:
The Silver Spoon Oscar House: Nestled in a three story rustic Hollywood House right off Laurel Canyon, this suite benefited the non-profit organization Chrysalis, which helps the economically disadvantaged become self sufficient through employment. Starbucks provided the caffeine with their brand new ready brew (this is not your momma's instant coffee folks!) and Beverly Hills Caviar classed it up with to the event with their way yummy caviar treats.
Highlights: Dalia, Octavio and Tulle. No these are not people, but clothing lines featuring some of the funkiest frock that fashion has to offer in the form of jackets, gowns and scarves. Melissa Rivers hawked her Red Carpet Ready Clutch, which she co-designed with stylist Sam Saboura, which contains "everything you need for a red carpet emergency," including double sided sticky tape, an adhesive bra and nail polish. Nicorette gum was on hand to offer appointments for free quitting-smoking counseling sessions, and also provided one of the funkiest functions of the suite: an age progression photo of guests that shows what they would look like by age 72 if they are a smoker vs. them being a non-smoker. Yikes! That's enough to make anyone quit! Other goodies included t-shirts by Wet Cement, men's beauty products by Zirh, Freshology home delivery meals and jewelry by Sophia Fiori. Meanwhile, Dr. Nathan Newman - who specializes in scar free face-lifts by using patients' own stem cells - offered up his state of the art Newman Formula skin care products. Since this is Hollywood, folks, the suite wouldn't be complete without copies of Perez Hilton's book, "Red Carpet Suicide."
The 2009 Oscar Swag Award for "Coolest Stuff" goes to:
Melanie Segal's Be the Change Gift Lounge: The event raised awareness for Volunteerism, inspired by Barack Obama's Call to Action. Held at the ultra cool West Hollywood Hotel, Pali House, items were just as cool.
Highlights: MBT footwears' latest styles (love the boots!), Ada Handbags and Bodi Tox slimming and detox products. Sharpie unveiled its newest fine tip marker in a sleek, stainless steel barrel - gorgeous! Also, Ogie Kanogie women's coats and jackets, designed by two California surfer gals for those chilling evenings and cool overcast mornings. Sense skincare was on hand to take a cross polarized photo of the face to reveal your skin's surface pigmentation, sun damage and other signs of aging. To help diminish whatever results the photo revealed, guests received a sleek travel bag with no less than 15 of the company's products. Blurb handed out VIP gift certificates to publish your own photo book using their software and astrologist Brad Kronen was back by popular demand with his accurate readings.
The 2009 Oscar Swag Award for "Best Out-of-the Gate" goes to:
The 2009 Valentine Romance & "Sneak Peek" Oscar suite: Held at Café La Boheme just days before Valentines Day, guests could not only get a head start on eyeballing potential Oscar shoes and gowns, but get prepared for a romantic Valentines (thanks for the oils, Kama Sutra!)
Highlights: Hai hair styling tools, Blo & Glo hairdryer holders (on those days where you wish you had a third hand to help style you hair!) and Aglow soy candles adorned with crystal bling. There was high-end wear (Mon Amie 3rd generation bridal couture for women and London cloth maker Holland & Sherry and Tom James Company for men), casual wear (Green Apple apparel made of organic bamboo and cotton) and footwear (RYN sneakers, Mimishooz high heeled leopard boots, pumps from Shiekh Shoes and winter boots by Capelta). Clara Kasavina's vintage handbags and Liz Alpert's 'Vibrational Jewelry of The Spirit' completed the looks. After awards season is over, guests can get away from it all with a stay at the Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa. Or just take a long nap and cover their eyes with the Glo to Sleep mask, which has a blue glow inside the eye covering that is said to help with sleep.
The 2009 Oscar Swag Award for "Best Eco-Friendly Suite" goes to:
Alive! Expo Green Pavilion & MixMedia Luxury Lounge: Held at the Sofitel Hotel.
Highlights: Goodies included Hairstylist's Jonathan Antin's new "Green Routine" hair products, tote bags by Tuwa Designs and various organic or all-natural/paraben free beauty products from such brands as Body by K, Nettlescrub and Aubrey Organics. Dome Incorporated was on hand to showcase the latest in their energy efficient homes and buildings made out of arched domes, while the organic Explorer's Bounty gave out coffee, mate teas, chocolate and puffed fruit. Monique Gordon's Mo' Betta accessories had cool bags and other goods made out of recycled juice boxes and Acai bracelets from Rainforest Native.