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A 'Love' fest with emissaries

A night of music, divas and the jeweler who loves them -- Cartier parties West Coast style.

June 29, 2008|Booth Moore | Times Fashion Critic

Forget the rooftop of the Cartier mansion in New York.

When Cartier brought its "Love" party to the West Coast, it was at a Wallace Neff mansion once occupied by Elvis Presley and now owned by the heirs to "The Young and the Restless" fortune.

Welcome to Bel-Air.

Bill and Maria Bell played host for the music-themed evening on June 18, a celebration for Cartier's charity "Love" bracelets, and its new roster of celebrity "Love ambassadors." Fergie, Ashanti and Eve were all there, but they didn't sing a note. They left that to Diana Ross.

Guests were ferried up the steep driveway by golf cart, entering through a marble foyer that resembled the entrance to a museum, which is appropriate, since the Bells are art collectors. In the living room, a Picasso hangs near a series of Andy Warhol Elvises. Not that we could see the pieces with a guard blocking the door.

Fergie, dressed in a super-short metallic dress by the up-and-coming label Derecuny, mingled with Janet Jackson and the adorable Jermaine Dupri. By the pool, glass cases displayed this year's crop of colorful knotted silk cord bracelets, benefiting charities chosen by Jackson, Hilary Duff, Good Charlotte's Benji and Joel Madden, Emmy Rossum and this year's other ambassadors.

Duff's deep plum bracelet benefiting hunger relief organization Blessings in a Backpack seemed to be a favorite among partygoers, who got to choose a bracelet as a gift. The "Love" charity bracelets, which resemble a friendship bracelet with one white and one rose gold link, are normally $995, with $200 benefiting charities that include the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Over the last two years, Cartier has donated $2.24 million to 16 global charities from the sale of the bracelets and expects to exceed $3 million this year.

The tennis court was grassed over and transformed into an outdoor dining room for a dinner catered by Nobu, which drew several past ambassadors, including Eva Mendes and Djimon Hounsou (with Kimora Lee Simmons on his arm), along with Chloe Sevigny, L.A. designer Monique Lhuillier and Nicole Richie. Guests sipped French wine, and struggled with their bento boxes in the dark. Was that Wagyu?

After dinner, everyone met on the terrace to hear Miss Ross belt out "I Will Survive." She looked fantastic in a slinky gown as she waved the crowd closer and sounded even better, even if she was singing to a backup tape instead of a backup band.

Oh, well, it will make her Hollywood Bowl extravaganza with the L.A. Philharmonic next month all the sweeter.


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