Celebrity Swag. The Oscar Fashion Frenzy Begins…

Penelope Cruz on last year’s Oscar red carpet

Due to the 14-week writers’ strike that nearly jeopardized the 80th annual Oscar’s (before ending last week) appears to have reduced the number of gift suites. Boo hoo. Additonally, more fashion houses now have VIP salons in their boutiques while others opt to send their sketches, gowns and celebrity dressers directly to the homes of stars and stylists, according to WDD

Stylist Tanya Gill, who is dressing best actress nominee Julie Christie said, "designers are very much focused and they just pick one or two people to work with. They deliver the things to you."


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Gill has noticed there are fewer suites, though she tries to visit those that have set up shop. "It’s not only respectful of all the beautiful things that get flown to Los Angeles, but it’s important to see what’s out there because things can change at the last minute and you have to be prepared," she said.

But the biggest names in fashion still jockey to dress top actresses and do their jewelry and makeup for the show on Sunday, which can lead to millions of dollars worth of publicity and help boost the bottom line.

The Oscars generate an estimated $130 million for the local economy alone, according to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. This includes $51 million spent by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the ceremony and all related events; $56 million in studio spending on Oscar campaigns; $5 million in gifting and "perk" related business; $3 million on parties (this is usually $4 million but cancellations this year brought it down), and $2.5 million on hotels.

If there’s less marketing this year it’s because of the shortened awards season and the uncertainty about the Oscars. Many companies either didn’t commit or make plans until they could see how it was going to shake out.

"Because of the price of gold being higher than it has been in years and certain jewelry companies paying celebrities to wear their gems, we decided to focus on the handbags," said Robyn Brooks, vice president of Kara Ross.

Despite the cost, many beauty companies insist that participating in the pre-Oscars courtship of Hollywood notables is a valuable investment. Matrix-owned professional hair care brand Biolage is setting up a spa and salon at the Thompson Beverly Hills hotel at which hair stylist Mark Townsend will perfect celebrity dos. L’Oréal-owned hair color treatment brand PureOlogy is at the TMG Luxury Suites, while L’Oréal Paris is the official sponsor of the Oscars broadcast and is providing a compact designed by Kwiat to nominated actresses.

Read "Oscar Week Fashion Frenzy Evolves"

photo: boston.com

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