With awards season underway, Hollywood is readying for this month’s Academy Awards. Whether you’re planning to walk the red carpet or watch from the sidelines, here’s where to pop the Champagne and get the all-star treatment around town.
By Marina Kay, adapted from Star Attractions from the February 2017 issue of WHERE Los Angeles Magazine
Awards-Show Viewing Parties
You don’t need to be invited to an awards show to get in on the action. Head to the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel for the Oscars (Feb. 26) viewing party hosted by THE Blvd Lounge and Moët & Chandon (groups require a reservation with a minimum spend of $100 per person). Don black tie at the Sofitel’s Academy Awards Viewing and After Party (general-admission tickets: standing from $10; seating from $35 via frenchtuesdays.com/events/oscarsviewing), or splurge on a four-course dinner ($50; starts at 5 p.m.) with preshow Red Carpet Fizz cocktails at The Tuck Room Tavern, where James Beard Award-winning chef Sherry Yard and mixologist Adam Seger will put on a show alongside the Oscars live-stream. You’ll also want to break out your tux or gown for the viewing party in The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel’s Blossom Ballroom ($75-$100)—site of the first Academy Awards and across the street from the ceremony’s current home, the Dolby Theatre. But the hottest ticket in town might go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party in West Hollywood Park—you can reserve a seat from $5,500, which goes toward helping this worthwhile cause (via ejaf.org or call 212.219.0670).
Wherever you party, you’ll want to primp like a VIP—there’ll be photo opportunities galore. At her recently opened LA salon, celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas keeps A-listers looking taut with the Burn, her exclusive radio frequency treatment that smoothes out bumps ($550 per hour with Vargas). For Insta-ready skin, facialist Sonya Dakar, loved by Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, recommends combining the diamond peel facial, oxygen treatment and red-light therapy for added radiance. These services require no downtime, so head directly to Hourglass Abbot Kinney, whose customizable Special Event Makeup service ($75) takes just 40 minutes to get you glam.
For top-to-toe polish, Cure Salon & Spa in West Hollywood offers everything from custom spray tans to hair services—colorist and stylist Craig Gangi works with Christina Aguilera, Kristen Bell, Anna Kendrick and Sofia Vergara’s husband, Joe Manganiello.
After tresses, it’s all about dresses. Stylist to stars Lisa Vanderpump and Holly Robinson Peete, Ali Levine (alilevine.com) expects this year’s red-carpet trends to feature lots of prints and texture: a little frill, a faux-fur wrap, lace, velvet and suede fabrics, chokers, cutouts and mesh. “Skin is in,” she says. Her clients are fans of Pistol and Stamen showroom for borrowing and buying gowns, as well as Monique Lhuillier and Alice + Olivia boutiques. As for fancy footwear, she lists Nordstrom, Opening Ceremony, Stuart Weitzman and Giuseppe Zanotti as client favorites.
“For the guys, the classic black tux and dark blue is always on trend, but keep a lookout for pale tans,” says Joseph Katz (josephkatz.com), in-house fashion stylist at Montage Beverly Hills. “Those guys more daring may choose a black tuxedo with red detail, or a white tuxedo with black detail.” Because department stores stock up well for awards season, Katz’s clients love to shop at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys. He adds that “independents like Maxfield on Melrose and Just One Eye have some very unique pieces.”
Both stylists agree that jewels seal a red-carpet look. Levine goes by the maxim that less is more, “unless you’re stacking rings or using a huge statement necklace to pop a look.” And the most popular accessory, Katz says, is diamonds—of course. “My top pick of gorgeous diamond boutiques are Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Martin Katz and Piaget.”
Drinking and Dining
Between prepping and primping, stars enjoy hanging out like the rest of us. Low-key Italian deli/restaurant Little Dom’s in Los Feliz hosts famous residents like Don Draper, aka Jon Hamm. In Century City, Craft restaurant, from Top Chef‘s Tom Colicchio, is a power-lunch restaurant for Hollywood agents, whose clients congregate at nearby West Hollywood “it” spot Catch LA. Expect to run into models, movie stars and musicians—Cindy Crawford, Tiësto, David Guetta and Sylvester Stallone were recently spotted there. Away from the mayhem, Nobu Malibu’s sushi, sake and ocean views pull A-listers like Bradley Cooper and Leonardo DiCaprio across town. Winding down at West Hollywood lounge The Nice Guy—hello, Justin Timberlake—means huddling in booths around cocktail punch bowls ($350) until the wee hours. Unless, of course, you continue on to party like a rock star at hot new nightlife destination Nightingale Plaza.