Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscar Hot List


From gorgeous gowns to couturish cocktails, we caught up with an elite squad of chic Chicagoans to find out their top picks on what to wear and where to be seen on Hollywood’s most notorious night, The Academy Awards.


Alexis Cozzini
Owner, Sarca

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? My boyfriend just bought an amazing TV so we’ll be viewing the show at his house with a few friends.

Who are you wearing? Since we’ll be staying in, I will probably wear my favorite David Lerner leggings and Coatpeople sweater. However, if I were a celebrity and attending the Oscars, I would definitely want to be seen wearing Marchesa or Chanel on the red carpet.

Chanel Couture

What are your pre-award rituals? I always watch Red Carpet Live on E! This year, I will also be prepping a fabulous selection of small bights such as mini heirloom tomato BLTs and pear tartlettes and popping Prosecco, of course!

Favorite part of the show? The opening performance – it really sets the tone and lightens the mood. I also look forward to hearing about what the celebs receive in their post-show swag bags!

Top pick for Best Actress: Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

Top pick for Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Top pick for Best Picture: The Artist


Amanda Puck
Executive Vice President, XAPR

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? Hosting the red carpet at the only Academy-sanctioned Oscar event in Chicago – Oscar Night® America at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Amanda at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards

Who are you wearing? White and black tuxedo jumpsuit from Space519 and YSL wedges.

What are your pre-award rituals? I always have a few cocktails and a great meal before hitting the red carpet as the show is so long.

Favorite part of the show? The red carpet and I can’t wait to see Billy Crystal’s funny opening number.

Top pick for Best Actress: Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Top pick for Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Top pick for Best Picture: The Artist

What she'll be mixing: 
The Chicago Red Carpet Cocktail Martini
2 oz - Stoli Original
1 oz - Freshly made Raspberry Puree
½ oz - Simple Syrup
½ oz - Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1. Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
2. Garnish with a large fruit gummi.

Amy Tara Koch
Author, Bump It Up

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? I will be at home with friends enjoying the best fashion show of the year. I will be dishing Oscar fashion on Windy City LIVE on Monday morning so I will be taking lots of notes.

Who are you wearing? Something slouchy and fabulous by Zero + Maria Cornejo paired with a dramatic smoky eye and bright red lipstick for instant Hollywood glamour.

 Red Carpet-ready Lips 

What are your pre-award rituals? Research who is wearing what on all of the gossip and fashion sites, pour myself a glass of bubbly and watch the arrivals on E! News.

Favorite part of the show? Oscar arrivals are the most glamorous fashion show of the year. I like them even more than the awards.

Top pick for Best Actress: Viola Davis, The Help

Top pick for Best Actor: Brad Pitt,
Moneyball

Top pick for Best Picture: The Help

Borris J. Powell

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? I will be at home in front of the big screen. I have two appearances the next day with local media to dish on the red carpet, so I want to be in a place where I’m not distracted.

Who are you wearing? More than likely I’ll get dressed up in one of my own signature, custom jackets.

What are your pre-award rituals? I watch the red carpet fashion show with friends and we nominate our favorite couture creations.

Oscars Designer Challenge winner, 
Borris J. Powell, and the "Black Swan" dress

Favorite part of the show? The red carpet. It’s the ultimate fashion show.

Top pick for Best Picture: The Help or The Tree of Life


Candace Jordan
Blogger, Candid Candace

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? I will be covering Oscar Night® America at the Gene Siskel Film Center for my column in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune Magazine, Candid Candace, and my new show, Candid Candace Chicago, on Watch312.com. 

Best Couple: Candace and Chuck Jordan

Who are you wearing? Ivan Grundahl, one of my favorite designers.
  
Favorite part of the show? Seeing the fashions and hearing the speeches. 

Top pick for Best Actress: Viola Davis, The Help

Top pick for Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Top pick for Best Picture: Midnight in Paris

Cece Gonzalez & Melinda Joseph

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? On the red carpet at the legendary Drake Hotel for the Oscar Viewing Party.

Who are you wearing? Stylish gowns from the International House of Couture.

What are your pre-award rituals? Reading and watching the movies before the Oscars and checking which actor/actress is getting the best buzz on Twitter.

 Oscar LIVE! on Twitter

Favorite part of the show? The red carpet is glamour at its finest. Love to see the fashion and what the stars are wearing.

Top pick for Best Actress: Cece: Viola Davis, The Help; Melinda: Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Top pick for Best Actor: Cece: Brad Pitt, Moneyball; Melinda: Demián Bichir, A Better Life

Top pick for Best Picture: Cece: The Help; Melinda: Moneyball

Donna LaPietra
Co-Owner/Vice President/Producer, Kurtis Productions

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? In front of our screening room TV with Bill and a few friends who have seen nearly all the films and are serious film buffs.

Who are you wearing? I actually have a t-shirt with a statue that says “BEST HOSTESS” that I always wear with comfortable black leggings.

 Best of the Best

What are your pre-award rituals? Channel-flipping to catch the best red carpet interviews and fashions and preparing nominated film-inspired food. This year I’m serving:
Moneyball: Mini hotdogs, popcorn, and peanuts for snacks

The Descendants: Hawaiian pineapple salad, hibachi skewers, and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts

Midnight In Paris: Champagne and croque monsieur mini sandwiches

The Help: Hummingbird cupcakes, a southern-style dessert

Favorite part of the show? A really well-delivered acceptance speech (there aren’t many) and the beautifully-edited salute to those who passed away in the year gone by.

Top pick for Best Actress: Viola Davis, The Help    

Top pick for Best Actor: Jean Dujardin,
 The Artist



Top pick for Best Picture: The Artist  

Lindsay Avner
Founder & Executive Director, Bright Pink

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? With my girlfriends, wine, and lots of chocolate.

Who are you wearing? lululemon...obviously!

Kristin Cavallari: lululemon lover (of course!)

Favorite part of the show? The pre-show red carpet hour.

Top pick for Best Actress: Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


Top pick for Best Actor: Brad Pitt, 
Moneyball

Top pick for Best Picture: The Help


Melissa Muoio
Assistant Editor, UrbanDaddy Chicago

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? This year, I will be attending the Elton John Oscar Party with my boyfriend in LA.

Sir Elton John and David Furnish 
at the 19th Annual Elton John 
AIDS Foundation Oscar Party

Who are you wearing? I have the honor of wearing a beautiful beaded coral dress by Emilio Pucci. 

What are your pre-award rituals? I will be primping for the party with a glass of champagne in hand. I also like to guess which designers celebrities will be wearing before they hit the red carpet.

Favorite part of the show? As a stylist with experience in the entertainment industry, I live for the red carpet showdown. It is ridiculous how much prepping and primping goes into every celebrity.

Top pick for Best Actress: Viola Davis, The Help

Top pick for Best Actor: Jean Dujardin,
The Artist



Top pick for Best Picture: The Artist


Monika Dixon
Owner, BeeCloser 

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? I am looking forward to watching the Oscars with friends and family at our home this year.

Who are you wearing? All Saints’ baby blue waxed denim skinny jeans with a white chambray t-shirt from Sarca and a pair of Isabel Marant's 'Willow' sneakers with their cool concealed wedge heels. 

Star Sneaks: Isabel Marant's "Willow" wedges

What are your pre-award rituals? I love watching the red carpet and pre-red carpet preparations.

Favorite part of the show? Recognizing the year's best film always gives me goose bumps and I look forward to the Best Actress, Documentary Feature, and Music awards. I also like discussing the red carpet dress choices with my girlfriends. 

Top pick for Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady


Peggy Lanigan
Regional Marketing Manager, Central Region - Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? Moët & Chandon Impérial is heavily involved in the Oscars, including this week’s press conferences, red carpet arrivals, Governor’s Ball, and more. I will be watching the big event with a small group of friends.

Who are you wearing? I haven’t thought about it yet, but I’ll be all over what the celebs are wearing.

Who Do You Love, Baby?

What are your pre-award rituals? Chilling several bottles of Moët & Chandon Impérial, of course!

Favorite part of the show? The red carpet interviews and the award for Best Actress – it’s always so fun to watch, especially if it’s a first time winner.

Top pick for Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Top pick for Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants

Top pick for Best Picture: The Artist


Samantha Saifer Berngard
Senior Director of Marketing, Skoog Productions

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? At home cooking dinner with my husband and indulging in a nice glass of red wine.

Who are you wearing? Subconsciously, I am wearing a pastel Maria Lucia Hohan gown with Viktor & Rolf high heel bow sandals and a Lanvin clutch. In reality, I am sitting on the couch in my lululemon sweats.

 Gown Goldmine: Maria Lucia Hohan designs

What are your pre-award rituals? Watching the celebrities walk the red carpet is my absolute favorite part of any awards show. I always tune into E! News because my brother works behind-the-scenes so I always keep my eye out for him. I am also a huge Fashion Police fan.

Favorite part of the show? When I can see how much shorter Ryan Seacrest is than the women he’s interviewing. I also love the red carpet arrivals – it’s exhilarating to see which fashion choices become trends for the upcoming season.

Top pick for Best Actress: Viola Davis, The Help

Top pick for Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Top pick for Best Picture: The Help or Midnight in Paris


Rachel Schwanz
Event Planner & Caterer, Entertaining Company

How will you be ringing in the Oscars? Catering the Center on Halsted Party.

Who are you wearing? A black Yigal Azrouël dress or an ivory Cynthia Rowley.

Creative Cutout: Maria Wilde in Yigal Azrouël

What are your pre-award rituals? Normally I’m getting the house ready for guests. This year, I will be running around for someone else's party.

Favorite part of the show? The red carpet and the dresses.

Top pick for Best Actress: Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Top pick for Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants

Top pick for Best Picture: Moneyball

Photo credits:
Photo of Candace Jordan courtesy of Gintas Zaranka
Photo of Monika Dixon courtesy of Parrish Lewis

Posted by Kerry & Sally Shorr

Friday, February 24, 2012

AND THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE!: Industry Insiders' Tips For Hosting The Best Oscars Party At Home




When it comes to awards shows, America has a carpet addiction. In some fashion circles, it’s more like a cult following. If rocking the red carpet at this year’s 84th Annual Academy Awards® is high on your To Do list, there are plenty of parties that will satisfy your inner-exhibitionist. If you prefer to keep things more, well, private, why not wow your fans and woo your critics with an intimate Oscars celebration at home?


Luxe File Chicago asked four of its favorite event insiders for their secrets to throwing, and dressing for, the ultimate Oscars party (hot party date not included). Here’s what they had to say:


THE EVENTEUR
Debi Lilly

Turn Your Place Into A Party Pad: Roll out the red carpet - outside at the entrance, even inside down the hallways. It is as easy as using a throw rug, a few yards of linen or cotton duck, or removable, static cling contact paper rolls.

Create An Oscar Theme: Use red and gold and velvet ropes to achieve instant Oscar glam. Red linens on tables, red florals in gilded bases, red flickering candles, gold statuettes throughout your home (available at party stores), and gold platters filled with food and drink.

VIP Guest List & Invites: Invite friends, family, and neighbors. As your guests arrive, place printed “And the Oscar goes to...” category nametags on their backs. Playing an old-fashioned game of “Yes or No”, guests try to figure out who they “are” (actor, actress, director, movie, and more).

Good Eats: Oscars-inspired nibbles

Notable Nibbles: I love to theme the menu to the movies that are up for awards. This year, serve Hawaiian food and drink for The Descendents, French for The Artist, New York gastro wagons and street carts for Extremely Loud, and, of course, southern-style comfort food like rich chocolate French silk pie for The Help.

Lights. Cameras. Cocktails! Serve creative cocktails your guests will love. Here are two suggestions:

“Red Carpet” – Combine equal parts antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice with Prosecco and garnish with a thinly sliced lemon wheel, floating inside.

“Oscar-ita” - Combine equal parts golden mango juice, ginger ale, tequila, limeade, and a light beer (like Corona).

VIP Party Favors. Golden or yellow-colored candies, like Lemon Sours or Lemonheads, boxed in clear, acrylic square boxes and personalized with custom-printed “Red Carpet” labels.

Best Hostess Attire. A gown worthy for the red carpet – but of course. 

THE MIXOLOGIST
Adam Seger

Make It Memorable: Creating Cocktails Your Guests Will Love. They have to be simple to execute, strikingly beautiful and prepared with the best ingredients you can. Here is my recipe for the exclusive Champagne cocktail of this year’s Governor's Ball-

"Möet's Red Carpet Glamour"
1. Fill a chilled Champagne flute half way with ice.
2. For each flute, stir 1 ounce Fresh Squeezed Sour Mix (see recipe below) and Hum Botanical Spirit with fresh ice to chill.
3. Strain into the flute and top with Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Reserve.
4. Garnish with a single rose petal.
5. Continually refresh as you wish with Moët & Chandon Imperial as the Champagne will float on top of the HUM Sour. Its effervescence will deliver HUM's heady cardamom and Kaffir lime notes.

Fresh Squeezed Sour Mix Preparation:
1. Make a syrup with 1.5 cups sugar and 1 cup hot water.
2. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
3. Add 1 cup of fresh lime juice and 1 cup fresh lemon juice and refrigerate.
4. May be prepared the night before.
(Syrup may be substituted with 1 pint agave nectar.)

Need a visual? Check out Adam Seger’s Red Carpet Fizz demo HERE.

Bar Essential Basics. Fresh, hard ice (not melty). Fresh citrus. Cutting board. Sharp knife. Boston Shaker. Hawthorne Strainer. Tongs. Zester. Channel knife. A thick, fat muddler (NO paint on it please and, yes, size matters here.)

Perfect Pairings: Tasty Bar Nibbles. Pick an ingredient in your dish and use it in your cocktail as a flavor bridge.

 Celebration Staple: BUBBLY!

Wine 101: Great Wines For Any Guest. Dry Rose and Champagne

Do-It-Yourself Bartending Basics. Go to Hum Spirits for an array of delicious and simple-to-prepare drink recipes.

Hiring a Bartender: What You Need To Know. Everyone loves eye candy, so looks are a bonus, but first and foremost, anyone you hire should be friendly, engaging, and like good food. If they have these qualities, you can guide them to make nice, simple cocktails.


THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Jeff Schear
Taking Paparazzi-Perfect Photos. Celebrity photographers take three basics photos on the red carpet: full-length, mid-length, and a headshot. Full-length photos highlight the dress and shoes; headshots focus on the shoulders and face. Also remember to make sure the color balance on your camera is set correctly. Select the light bulb setting if you’re shooting indoors and the sun icon for exterior photos.

Posing Like A Supermodel. WOMEN: Create dimension by pointing your chest at a 45 degree angle, cross one leg in front of the other, square your chin towards the camera and tilt your head. MEN: Point one shoulder slightly off-center from the camera, plant one foot forward, then lift your chin up and away from your body and towards the lens. 

 Click! Cameron Diaz strikes a perfect pose

Host(ess) Tips for Getting Camera-Ready. For flawless-looking skin, swap translucent makeup for primer and a creamy foundation. Take the proper precautions when wearing shear fabrics - powerful flashes can go right through fabrics and expose what is, or isn’t, underneath. Don’t get caught in a wrinkled tux, have your suit pressed or dry-cleaned.

Camera or iPhone. Since an iPhone’s flash isn’t strong enough to expose imperfections in the makeup or clothing, colors won’t be absolutely correct and pictures might have a soft, yellow hue. A camera is your best bet, even if it’s just a small point-and-shoot. Tip: If you are going to use an iPhone, try taking photos from an elevated position – it makes the subject appear thinner.

Hiring a Photographer: What You Need To Know. A professional red carpet photographer can be expensive so consider hiring a photography student or novice photographer who's work you like. If you know someone in the media industry, ask them. Chances are, they can recommend a pro who will fit your size and budget.

Jeff Schear’s Shutterbug Suggestions. Capture what your subjects are wearing by shooting them vertically. Mix things up by taking posed and candid photos. Remember to snap some pics of the food, drinks, and decorations before your guests arrive. 


THE STYLIST
Eric Himel

How to Select the Perfect Dress. If you are dashing around, you don't want to trip. Opt for knee-length or t-length. It’s important to stand out, so choose a vibrant color and not black. The biggest fashion faux pas for a host(ess) is to be mistaken for a guest.

Walking the Red Carpet: Perfect Party Shoes. Find comfort in a sexy stiletto with a platform, wedge, or a thick heel. Remember physics? The larger the surface of the heel at the bottom, the more it will distribute your weight.

Wondering what to wear? 
Eric Himel weighs in.

Ultimate Accessories. Rhinestone headbands are big now and do double-duty by keeping your hair in place and out of the food. If you can't decide on what jewelry to wear, pick two pieces and make sure they don't match.

Hair & Makeup Must-Haves. Awards shows don't mean you always have to wear it in an updo. You can still look elegant with your hair down. Practice the look a day before so you aren't frazzled at your party.

Cocktail? Creative? Casual? Defining the Party Dress Code. Yes, yes, and yes. Make sure the look is unique and all you. People can smell when you are trying to be inauthentic.

Menswear 101: Fashion Advice for Guys. Make as much of an effort as your gal. Be creative with accessories – cufflinks, ties, and shoes - just don't be too humorous. Be a grown-up.

Favorite Shopping Destinations. Some of the best treasures can be found in in the dress department at Bloomingdale's, consignment/vintage stores, or “shop” a friend's closet and let her do the same in yours.

Host(ess) Tips for Getting Camera-Ready. Practice your smile in a mirror. Keep pressed powder close for touch ups. Opt for a confident pucker and stay away from the 'Siamese-twin-attached-at-the head-or-cheek' look with your best-y.

Hiring a Stylist: What You Need To Know. Just like going to a hair stylist, pull the looks you like from magazines to show them. Communicate what you are trying to exude - 'pretty', 'sexy', 'edgy' - and share which areas of your body you want to showcase or keep covered up.

Posted by Sally & Kerry Shorr