I work in advertising in Los Angeles. I've been to a lot of Vanity Fair parties. But this one was special. This one was the mother of all Vanity Fair parties, the Oscars party. I've only been one time - in 2007. And I didn't go as an advertising exec, I went as a "Plus One". You know the kind - the cousins, the mother's friend's son, the co-worker who owns a tux and owes you a favor?
So when I got the call, I said "Sure, I got nothing else to do." I had a dress, I had some shoes. No problem. OMG, I was so wrong.
Two weekends before the event, I make the mistake of looking at photos from past Oscar parties. Aiyee!! Wrong move. I pull out my dress, which is fine for your typical weddings, operas, fancy restaurants, cruises. But compared to pictures in Vanity Fair, mine looks like I bought it off the rack at the 99 cent store. Oh boy.
Dress - Off I go to look for a dress. I spend an entire week going from mall to mall looking for something VF worthy. In the back of my mind, I know I'm never going to find anything but I do manage to find something less "discount-y". Gals, in case you ever find yourselves in this situation, classic is the way to go. If it is a classic design, then you can get away with going with a non-designer gown.
And of course, I have to find shoes and purse to match. And jewelry. That was the year everybody was leaving off the necklaces so I didn't have to find a necklace. And I went to an antique mall and found some wonderfully unique pieces of costume jewelry. So I guess that is my second tip - shop for jewelry at antique stores.
Hair - I have the kind of wash and wear hair. A couple brush strokes and I'm good to go. But of course, this being Oscar party I have to go get a fancy up-do. Trouble is, everybody is booked solid way in advance in this town. So I drive all the way out to the next city and have to get it done like 10 hours prior. My hairdresser sprays like a good half a can of hairspray onto my creation and jabs what feels like a thousand hairpins into what reminds me of a 1950's beehive do.
The 'do weighs a ton. And I can't risk lying down or even resting my head on the back of a chair or sofa for fear of messing the thing up. I realize then that showering is going to be a challenge as I don't own a showercap large enough. I opt for a careful bath instead.
Make-up - I luck out here. A friend of mine knows a make-up artist and she happily comes to my home to do my face. She's never met me and I haven't met her and she takes and awfully long time fixing my face. I think to myself 'Geez, I can't need that much work...' But I guess I do.
Finally, finally I get dressed and the stretch limo pulls up. I feel awkward and my neighbors all come out to see what the commotion is about. The place, Morton's is about a forty-five minute drive. The driver is nice and gives us his cell number to call once we're done. I try to memorize his face as there is no way we're going to be able to tell which limo is for us in the sea of limos pulling up to the curb.
My photos are terrible but here is one of drop off. See all the people watching across the street?
We get out and it is extremely awkward and embarassing for me and friend to walk down the red carpet. There are hoards of photographers, reporters, and gawkers lining both side. Nobody takes any photos. lol. Luck is again on our side as my friend's publicist is working carpet and ushers us in like we're somebodies.
The place is packed to the rafters and I immediately bump into the back of a tall tuxedo leaving. It is Hugh Jackman. All the effort is suddenly worth it. I vow not to wash my left upper arm where it touched his back. Kate Winslet is standing by the bar looking incredibly gorgeous. Al Gore towers above the crowd facing the door.
We meet Ioan Griffudd. We chat about a mutual friend and how much I admire his work. It is good to see he's on "Ringer" now (on the CW).
It is wall to wall celebrities. My friend and I decide to make a loop and pretend not to gawk at everybody. We do make the loop but we're not good enough actors not to ogle everybody. In the back "power corner" Oprah holds court with John Travolta and Kelly Preston.
I can't help it. I take out my camera and snap a photo. I'm pretty sure it is a no-no but I figure it is the only chance I'm going to get. So apologies for the poor quality.
I've always heard John (like I'm on a first name basis with him) is a nice guy. He is. He chats with us. I tell him Kelly and I used to go to school together. She doesn't remember me. Ah well.
We gawk a bit more, have some champagne. By this time it is about 2 am and the party is definitely breaking up. We leave and wait for our limo to fight its way to the front. Puff Dadd/P Diddy/Diddy is waiting for his car. I have no idea who he is but people are shouting at him from across the street.