Gift lounges continue despite show cancellation
Swag-hunters rejoice! At least three key Golden Globes gifting suites will go ahead, even though the ceremony itself has been canceled.The Kari Feinstein Style Lounge, the Access Hollywood “Stuff You Must” Lounge at the Sofitel LA and 2008 World Experience DPA Gift Lounge at the Peninsula Hotel are among those going ahead as planned, even though the main reason for their existence has been nixed. Roger Neal of Neal Public Relations, host of the SHM Red Carpet Golden Globe Suite, said “We’re still celebrating Golden Globe week. This is not a funeral. Stars are still going to go out and have fun. We have more than 35 stars confirmed, from Howard Shore to Marie Osmond.” Gifting lounges have become part of awards season tradition, with stars, media and industry flocking to get free beauty treatments and sacks full of free clothes and accessories at the events, usually held at private estates or high-end hotels around L.A. Hillary Clinton’s facialist will be at the SHM suite, giving oxygen facials and mani-pedis, and J-Lo’s eyelash extension specialists will also be on hand. The Kari Feinstein Style Lounge has repositioned itself as a “Winter Style Lounge.” Making it crystal clear where the organizers’ loyalties lie, the WGA Strike Fund is now their main charity affiliate for the event. Co-organizer Mike McGuiness of Feinstein/ McGuiness PR says, “It was one of those things where the plane tickets had been bought and products had been sent, so canceling would have messed things up for a lot of different people. We are turning a big hurdle into something positive, especially being that we will be the one WGA-sanctioned gifting lounge.” Their sponsor companies, including Reebok, premium denim brand Rock & Republic and business class airline Silverjet, still plan on dishing out freebies worth thousands of dollars. Even in these times of protest, apparently, the swag must go on. Nathalie Dubois, organizer of the 2008 World Experience DPA Gift Lounge at the Peninsula Hotel this weekend, says RSVPs were still pouring in, including from VIPs. “Only two people have canceled,” she says. “There’s a lot writers coming too! A lot of people are sad in Hollywood; people work all year on their movies and TV shows and now they can’t celebrate.” Dubois chose not postpone until the Oscars, partially because her clients had already flown in for this weekend, and partially because there is no guarantee the Oscars won’t also be affected by the strike. But at least one of the larger lounges has been postponed, notably HBO’s Golden Globes “Luxury Lounge” at the Four Seasons Hotel. “It has felt like being in a wildfire,” “You work eight months to build a project, so to see it go up in smoke in matter of minutes yesterday was surreal,” says organizer Britt Johnston. The lounge was one of the first of its kind, originally created as a pre-awards haven for the cast of “Sex and the City.” Canceling entirely was out of the question — the suite has now been rescheduled to run with the SAG Awards.