The 92nd Annual Academy Awards – internationally known as Hollywood’s biggest night – took place on Sunday, 9th February 2020 at The Dolby Theatre. Expect a soiree every night ahead of the Oscars. Furthermore, gifting suites operate daily to facilitate red-carpet styling and press requests in preparation for the cinematic phenomenon.
Nathalie Dubois-Sissoko – President and CEO of The Dubois Pelin & Associates (DPA) Pre-Oscars Talent Lounge (Gifting Suite) – hosted guests in the Brentwood Suites of the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel on 7th and 8th February 2020. Upon arrival, all guests had to check-in accordingly. Although the waiting time seemed interminable for the gifting suite, I had a chance to absorb how Nathalie and her team managed their operation. Strict and stringent with the guest list, only press and nominees had priority access to the suite. Nathalie has a strong presence – a no-nonsense demeanour characterised by a pleasant and professional attitude. The latter determined the smooth running of the lounge and the high quality of participating brands.
Internationally known, the DPA showcase brands from such countries as Japan, Canada, Finland, France and the USA (to name but a few). Each brand presented their fashion, beauty, and wellness collections in a luxurious setting with an intimate outdoor space. Furthermore, guests were treated to delicious food by Carvery Kitchen.
Beverage brands included – Social Sparkling Wine, Nutrivsta Coconut Water and Path Water presented in a reusable aluminium bottle. The latter is purified water that stayed cold longer hence the perfect aid to keep one hydrated amongst a hectic schedule of award-season errands. That said, be selective about the number of events and gifting suites you attend to avoid spreading yourself too thin.
The DPA gift suite was worth a visit as it offered innovative and practical products to guests. Sparti Scents, which I came across initially, is a collection of skin-loving fragrances. The latter was presented in a twist-on swivel stick and had hints of floral and a “sexy, woody background note”. Each scented stick could be easily mistaken for lipstick. The application process was straightforward in that you glide the fragrance of your choice onto your pulse points (i.e., wrist or neck) and blend it in for a smooth non-oily, fragrant finish. Love Sparti kindly gave me a Scent Cooler as a gift. It is somewhat overpowering. The design aesthetic, however, was practical such that you could easily fit each fragrance stick into a small evening bag or purse. Overall, the design concept of Love Sparti, coupled with their hydrating ingredients, defines the brand’s unique selling points.
CBD-based products are hugely popular, but only a few make their mark in an over-saturated market. I met the founders of Shalia Botanicals at The DPA gift lounge, who offered guests a BLESSED kit featuring four CBD-based wellness products. The product name alone is thought-provoking. “Am I blessed? Yes!” Shalia Botanicals promote a clear message such that good health is a blessing, hence their aim to provide “wellness-centred products that will empower you to experience even greater happiness and joy throughout your life.” I suffer from aches in my left shoulder; thus, I tested Shalia Botanicals Intuitive Skincare One For All CBD-based cream while in the suite. My shoulder felt less tense after 5 minutes. Overall, Shalia Botanicals are soothing. Other products include CBD Tincture in the flavour of Old-Fashioned; Bourbon Barrel-Aged, Blissful Microbiome Serum and Radiant Clear UVA/UVB SPF 50.
I did not ever think ‘Fallen Stars’ existed until I discovered them in The DPA lounge. Hand-crafted and innovative in design, Fallen Stars is a jewellery brand of Herkimer “diamonds.” The quartz is extracted directly from a mine in Herkimer, New York. The Ace of Diamonds is the mine to visit when collecting high-quality minerals such as Herkimer diamonds, crystals or quartz. Fallen Stars gifted me with a crystal stone and necklace which complimented my outfit at the time.
Herkimer Diamonds help to promote spiritual, mental and physical healing and energisation. It is no wonder that I felt exceptionally calm when wearing the necklace.
Other unique products in The DPA lounge included Deafmetal; an award-winning jewellery collection for hearing aid users, The Honey Hive Soaps and TomBoy X.
What I had appreciated most about The DPA lounge was their support of charity initiatives to raise awareness. Kids in the Spotlight is an inspiring non-profit organisation and social enterprise that provides an outlet and a platform for foster youth, ages 12–22, to overcome trauma through the power of storytelling and filmmaking. Young adults write, cast, star in their short films and provide the narrative in their way. Such charity organisations like Kids in the Spotlight are paving the way for disadvantaged and underprivileged children to project their voice through creativity to be heard. There are over 443,000 kids in foster care in the United States. California has over 35,000 foster youth in Los Angeles County, more than some states as a whole.
Originally from France, Nathalie Dubois says “Celebrities want new and exciting products – exotic products. They don’t just want the same thing at every suite.” DPA opened its first Asian office in Tokyo, Japan in 2017 and has some new, upcoming ventures this year.
Past attendees of DPA Gifting Lounges include Queen Latifah, Scarlet Johansson, Charlize Theron, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Vanessa Williams to name but a few.
Written by Style Icon Nat | Photography by Style Icon Nat | Gifted Items | Thank you DPA Pre Oscars Talent Lounge