With stylistas, models and A-list designers descending upon Gotham in hordes for the start of New York Fashion Week, it's difficult to conceive of Los Angeles -- much less its grimier nooks in Culver City -- competing with the East Coast pomp and circumstance.
But were you to drive through Culver City Tuesday night, past old warehouses, gas stations and darkened street corners, one wrong turn would reveal in front of your headlights a long valet line, shutterbug-filled red carpet, and event facility 3 Labs transformed into moonlit Paris, all in the name of celebrating iconic Parisian fashion brand Hermes.
Fete followed up a full day of Hermes events, after the Hermes Beverly Hills Boutique on Rodeo Drive was unveiled earlier in the afternoon. The Dumas family -- including Pierre-Alexis Dumas and Axel Dumas -- were joined by fellow Hermes toppers Henri Louis Bauer, Veronique Nichanian, Robert Chavez and Denis Montel for the City of Lights-themed after party.
A slew of showbizzers mixed and mingled with the fashion crowd as well, including Teresa Palmer, Jessica Alba and Jennifer Tilly.
Revelers dressed in chic and sleek black ensembles arrived at the fete and were virtually transported overseas by the scene -- twinkling stars were sprinkled against the ceiling; a miniature river -- complete with toy speed boats -- traced through the entrance of the party; savory crepe stands and scotch carts satisfied guests; and a giant moon was projected against a dark wall over the indoor river.
And though Hermes may trace its brand roots to the 19th century, the fete boasted a tech-savvy, modern edge, with digital street portraits being sketched out on tablets while attendees watched over the artists' shoulders. (Those portraits, along with vids and photos from the event, were uploaded to personal digital coins bestowed upon each guest at the entrance. Attendees offered their email to activate the chip, and slipped the coin into their designer bag before grabbing a flute of champagne and heading into the confab.)
Of course, a trip to Paris can only last for so long. Outside at valet, as the elegant waited for their cars, a familiar Angeleno question could be overheard -- "Should we take surface streets or the 10 freeway home?"
In L.A., a fast commute never goes out of style.
© 2013 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
L.A. Says 'Bonjour' to Hermes at Chic Boutique After Party
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