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Swag resurfaces with a conscience

OSCAR STYLE

February 24, 2007|Chris Lee | Times Staff Writer

Promoters of the Kwiat Diamond suite have actively billed it as an "anti-swag suite." Strictly speaking, that's true: The Arnold Brant designer suits (in eco-friendly materials that no animals were killed to make) and the million-dollar diamond jewelry there are intended as red-carpet loaners -- the stuff has to be returned once the last after-party ends. But "anti-swag" doesn't mean anti-luxury.

Ensconced in a corner of the Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills, the suite is an oasis of bling and laid-back affluence where L'Oreal Paris makeovers are performed and $20 bottles of mineral water aiding the nonprofit Charity Water are handed to every celeb who walks through the door. A case of the water sells for $4,000, the exact cost to build a well in several African countries (Ethiopia, Uganda and Malawi, among them), where contaminated drinking water has created a health emergency.

"The vast majority of these suites are designed just to give away product," Kwiat said. "It's lost some of its effectiveness. But we haven't seen any loss of turnout by making this charitable push, in saying, 'We're not giving anything to you. We're giving back in your name.' Charity is not necessarily about the branding."

chris.lee@latimes.com

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