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Addressed to impress

March 02, 2003|Gina Piccalo

Absolut McCartney

This pearly pink plastic invite holds a key with no teeth, but it lured scores of guests to the Chateau Marmont in October for fashion designer Stella McCartney's party celebrating an ad campaign she designed for Absolut vodka. The invitation was inspired by McCartney's creative search for ideas, say party designers Bryan Rabin and David Rodgers of Rabin Rodgers Inc. "It's the key that lets you into that discovery process," says Rodgers. "To keep unlocking, unlocking, unlocking." The design was purposely low-tech, says Rabin, with a sketch of the hotel inscribed on one side and the event details on the other. The Chateau Marmont is so revered, he adds, "even by the most jaded partygoers in L.A.," that to get a key in the mail, "their mouths are going to drop open." Indeed, guests were reluctant to leave the affair. They stayed until 6 a.m.

Bulgari's glittery bash

Tucked inside this hardcover portfolio are postcard-sized, black-and-white photos of Hollywood's famous lovers -- Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, and Jean Harlow and Howard Hughes. Vintage lettering and language ("Libations & delectables") give the enclosed invitation a classic feel. "We wanted the invitation to tell a story and create a mood," says Bulgari's vice chairman Nicola Bulgari. In reality, the Feb. 12 affair, co-hosted by Vanity Fair and the Motion Picture & Television Fund, was a glamorous marketing ploy. It feted the opening of the jewelry maker's new Beverly Hills store just in time for Valentine's Day. But there were some creative touches to the evening. Models wearing vintage Bulgari pieces posed in store windows, in a living display of the jewelry maker's art through the decades. And as opera singer Sasha Lazard sang arias, celebrity couples ogled the $4-million "rough diamond" necklace worn by Nicole Kidman on Oscar night last year.

What's new, Pussycats?

While the celebrity-studded burlesque of the Pussycat Dolls has become pretty standard party fare in Los Angeles, this lipstick-red boa -- with an invitation dangling from one end -- is definitely an eye-catcher. It was designed to get people to the Maxim magazine party at the Henry Fonda Theater in December, and give the fishnet-and-satin dancers yet another chance to show off. Maxim's creative director of marketing, Lisa Kay, wanted the invitation to have the same "old school" sex appeal of the Dolls' revue. "I realize that the people I'm sending stuff to receive invites to every party that's out there," she says. "I try to make them intrigued enough to respond." It worked. A thousand invites were sent. Nearly 2,000 people showed. (Of course, only a lucky 800 got inside.)

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