Think New York, Milan or Paris fashion weeks were a maddening whirl of dresses, jewels, bags, shoes — and the inevitable promotional opportunities? They’ve got nothing on Hollywood during Oscar week, starting this Sunday and racing nonstop through the big day on March 24.
The actual show is happening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ new home, the Kodak Theater at Hollywood & Highland, but the real action goes on around town — at Rodeo Drive VIP rooms, in star stylist salons, at four-star hotel suites and, in particular, that stalwart affectionately known as “Oscar Mart,” L’Ermitage Hotel.
Here, the first installment leading up to the big day of WWD’s guide to Academy-worthy fashion, beauty and accessories, not to mention all the parties and dish that make it Hollywood’s hardest-working — and playing — week of the year.

House Calls: First to introduce the Oscar Spa concept, Estee Lauder returns with its mobile dream team of Lauder artists and guest members, such as brow queen Anastasia Soare, cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Karyn Grossman, mani masters Marsha Bialo and Terry Hunter. If that’s not enough, 10 nominees and their pals get a custom T. Anthony toile suitcase containing Estee Lauder product, a Tse cashmere robe and Manolo Blahnik suede sandals.

Chanel Surfing: Publicity director Anne Fahey, working from the Rodeo Drive store next week, says Chanel is interested in only dressing one Academy Awards-bound star. She’s beautiful, mind you.
Beauty is a more accessible option, with a L’Ermitage suite — Chanel’s first — featuring its Studio Maquillage team with artist Susan Sterling (Britney Spears, Anjelica Huston, Bill Clinton) on March 21-23. They’ll have company, too: Frederic Fekkai and his team will do the ‘dos and hand out his signature hair care products.

As Seen on TV: Oscar’s official artist, Bruce Grayson, will join MAC Pro Team’s Gregory Arlt, Lisa Torrez and others on March 23 at the MAC/Vidal Sassoon Garden Suite at L’Ermitage, where visitors can also score MAC’s exclusive to this town, “Hollywood Red,” as well as a goodie-filled LeSportsac.

Turn into a Pumpkin: A forerunner in colored diamonds, Harry Winston unveils the whopping 5.54-carat pumpkin diamond ring. Estimated value for the vivid orange stone: If you have to ask…

Basket Case: While the Academy is mum on the official presenter gifts, we have word the following are in the bag (all 125 of them): Aveda (which also boasts its new Environmental Lifestyle store next to the Kodak Theater); Sama Eyewear, which is launching its custom-tinted Oscar Optics line; a $200 Lancome certificate to shop online; a $460 Ajune certificate for its New York center; a cloth envelope filled with a white tank screened with “Relax” and white terry pants from Loveletters Loungewear; a Paula Dorf nylon case stuffed with $250 in color cosmetics.

Advance Notice: The freebies have already been flowing: Trish McEvoy sent out $1,000 worth of brushes, plus a leather case filled with another $1,000 worth of makeup custom picked for each nominee. And Motorola is doling out its itty swivel-flip V70 a full month before it’s available to the masses.

Scents of a Woman: The newest category being pushed? Perfume. Who knows whether red carpet reporters will be asking, but that isn’t dissuading publicists from sending out bottles of Paco Rabanne’s Metal, Carolina Herrera’s Chic and Jean Patou’s Joy.

Sultan of Swag: Ted Kruckle of New York’s Ted Inc. has made an art form of the supersuite concept. This go-round, he outdoes even himself with no fewer than 14 brands, including Helena Rubenstein, Peter Coppola, Escada, Apple Computers, Cadillac and Red Envelope.

Glitterati: Some have figured out the best way to score press is to go to extremes. New York’s Anne Bowen covered a tulle and chiffon gown in 5,000 one-quarter and one-eighth carat diamonds. The value: $5 million. And Victoria’s Secret is back with a $5,000 Body By Victoria Diamond Edition bra with diamond and white gold straps that can be detached and worn as a choker or single strand necklace.

The Man Show: Guys are finally getting their props. And what’s more manly sounding than the Johnnie Walker Blue Gentlemen’s Suite? Inside L’Ermitage’s Presidential room, a Fred Segal Beauty crew will administer massages, shaves, manicures, facials and, presumably, a sampling of Blue Label. Over at the Peninsula, Jimmy Choo launches Harry’s Rubber Soles. And Aveda wrapped a $120 certificate around its soapy Men’s Bar.

Watching It: Van Cleef and Arpels and Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet are each creating their own diamond-encrusted timepieces for nominees to keep track of their acceptance speeches.

Bag Ladies: The limited edition Oscar bags are here again: Lulu Guinness offers a crystal-peppered, plum satin-covered fan; Lily Scott introduces a beaded swing bag, and Tod’s is unveiling four new styles.

Twinkle Toes: Footwear designers also have their own Oscar editions. Stuart Weitzman teamed up with Kwiat Diamonds to create a pair of 4-inch high, platinum mesh stilettos adorned with 464 pear-shaped and brilliant diamonds. Jimmy Choo commissioned diamond “shoe jewelry” in the shape of stars and dragonflies by Russian-born designer Sasha Ratiu. Christian Louboutin, new to the Oscar game this year, will offer a few custom, dyeable styles. Even Hush Puppies is in — with Swarovski-studded driving mocassins made for running to pre-Oscar appointments.

Car Wars: A chauffeured Town Car isn’t the only way be the only way to travel in style during Oscar week. Jaguar, Range Rover and Cadillac are loaning new cars to party-bound stars. Caddy’s parent company, GM, is driving home its presence by sending Minnie Driver, Kate Beckinsale, LeAnn Rhimes , Shiva Rose and other starlets down the runway at a charity bash March 21 night at the Hollywood Paladium. Super stylist Jessica Paster wrangled looks from Dolce & Gabbana, Luella Bartley, Matthew Williamson, Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior and other big names to be auctioned off latert on E-Bay with GM matching the proceeds up to $5,000 per outfit. The Wallflowers are set to rock the house.

Designer Deluge: The sun and stars are apparently attracting more than a few designers to Los Angeles next week: Alberta Ferretti might be here to share 20 new Oscar styles with Hollywood’s A-list; Mark Badgley and James Mischka return after an initial visit earlier this month; Zac Posen is hosting a cocktail party next Wednesday at Tracy Ross’s Sunset Plaza shop; Christina Perrin is seeing her famous friends in a Malibu beach-front house she rented for the month; Elie Saab trekking out for his first visit to town, and Thierry Mugler is popping in Wednesday as a featured guest at WWD’s Oscar party.

Ford Motors: Tom Ford is coming. But the draw is the release of friend Ron Galella’s new tome from local boutique publisher Greybull Press (owned by the designer’s pals Lisa Eisner and Roman Alonso). He’ll mark the occasion Wednesday with a party at Gucci on Rodeo Drive.

Sweater Girls: Angela Missoni and her team return to the Chateau Marmont this year, kicking off the week with a brunch for stylists and pals including Mira Sorvino, Lauren Ambrose, Shiva Rose, Keri Russell, Vanessa Getty and Jamie Tisch.

Native Sons: Richard Tyler, Kevan Hall, Bradley Bayou, David Cardona and Eduardo Lucero have already geared up their locally based ateliers.

The Usual Suspects: In many cases, savvy reps will make the rounds. Award vets like Carlos Souza and Dennis Wong of Valentino and Christian Leone of Halston are flying in this weekend, as are Mario Grauso with Carolina Herrera, and Jason Weisenfeld and consultant Marcus Ebner for Versace. Oscar de la Renta’s Alexandra Hamilton and Adam Lippes made an early bid with a visit last week.

Silver Belles: Cameron Silver has a knack for dressing A-list starlets in his vintage designer frocks. No wonder, then, that the folks at Emanuel Ungaro — namely New York and London-based publicist Sidney Goldman — decided on his Melrose Avenue Decades shop to showcase the couture, archival and new. She’ll have company, though, come Monday during a trunk show, from 4 to 7 p.m., with party clothes from Benjamin Cho and Imitation of Christ. Cho and IOC’s Tara Subkoff are willingly braving the harried stylists.

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