In H'wood, happiness is a bag full of freebies

The beautiful people got more so on the showbiz social circuit in 2004, where makeup giveaways and touch-ups vied with do-it-yourself swag as the party trend of the year.

Makeup companies such as Max Factor and Revlon threw in their wares atpreems like “The Aviator” and countless Emmy bashes this year, following in the sponsorship footsteps of liquor companies and car manufacturers. These alliances paved the way for beauty bars offering on-site blowouts and makeup application, plus free product.

Party planner Jeffrey Best says the cosmetics crowd is simply “recognizing what most other large Fortune 500 companies have, that influencers and celebrities are people to reach out to.”

Best has already lined up a Glamour mag beauty bar at Miramax’s upcoming Golden Globes bash and a Fred Segal beauty zone at Sundance’s Village at the Loft. “Everybody wants it now,” he says.

He believes this type of party pampering is “nowhere near where it’s going to be,” predicting parties with trailers offering services far from the eyes — and cameras — of fellow partygoers. (Think hair removal and teeth whitening.)

Swag-loving partygoers could pick up a lot more than lipstick at parties this year, as more planners integrated custom gift selection. The Emmy nom soiree and “ET” Emmy bash tantalized revelers with chocolate bars. Revelers at December’s Creative Coalition kudos, meanwhile, picked out handbags, jewelry and yet more makeup with their “charity bucks,” while attendees at the Environmental Media Awards had their choice of eco-minded products.

Planners say sponsors like do-it-yourself swag because it’s considered more interactive, and, presumably desirable, if the partygoers can choose it themselves instead of finding the product at the bottom of a bag. Look for more of it in 2005.

They expect even more swag suites, too. Pre-event freebie free-for-alls have already extended well beyond the Oscars to occasions such as the MTV Movie Awards, Tony kudocast and even an animal rescue benefit.

Sponsors haul out the goods for obvious reasons — they want to get their product in the hands of celebrities and hope for photos of celebs holding said good in the tabazines.

Proof just how sweet a deal these suites are: Participants have started inviting other event planners in hopes they find a product to bring in to their upcoming event.

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