Have you guys ever been to Bel Air? We hadn’t really explored the neighborhood until we went on the bike tour with Bikes And Hikes, which led us through fancy houses and country clubs hidden in the hills just east of the 405. It was nice and new and kind of weird in that it felt a little removed from the rest of the world (AKA, the rest of Los Angeles). Last night’s Vanity Fair event brought us out to the the center of Bel Air to the newly reopened Hotel Bel Air, a luxury hotel campus right in the middle of all the fancy houses and greenery of Bel Air.
The trek here was a bit of a long one, as I was meeting Bobby by bike after a meeting at the Beverly Hilton an hour before we were to head over to Bel Air. Bobby retrieved me and I shoved my bike into the back of our black 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle, undoubtedly scratching the exterior of the car. Again. We hustled over through the shallow hills of Beverly Hills into Westwood and up into Bel Air, me changing out of shorts and a t-shirt into pants and a collared shirt the whole ride over as the handle of a bike kept attempting to give me the most blunt impaling ever.
We arrived at the hotel after taking approximately six wrong turns on roads and narrowly missing signs that were put up to direct us to the hotel. We lined up into the Queue of Embarrassment (AKA, valet) and stepped out like the movie stars that we are not, again. This time, there were no paparazzos, there were lots of valets, and a few women in nice dresses. We shrugged and walked toward the hotel entrance, which is lined with what seemed to be the set of the movie The Secret Garden. We walked straight through to an iPad toting girl who checked us off a digital list and ushered us to the entry. Wolfgang Puck was standing on a black carpet being interviewed and I wanted to holler over, “Yo, Puck: love those sandwiches you make and sell at Gelson’s–they real fly. I used to eat them when I got home late from work when I was an assistant: thanks, brah.”
But, I didn’t.
As expected, this night was a decidedly more formal as well as being occupied by an older crowd. The event was to honor Princess Grace de Monaco, who–for those of you that dare blaspheme a “Who dat?”–is also known as Hollywood actress Grace Kelly. Hosted by Los Angeles Contributing Editor of Vanity Fair, Wendy Stark Morrissey, and Montblanc, who were sharing their tribute collection to Grace, the event was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Princess Grace Foundation. The event featured large photos of Princess Grace looking all beautiful and elegant and just too damn fabulous for words along with publications about Grace, which included Vanity Fair’s May 2010 issue about the Hollywood Princess (which I swore was from 1999 and was excited to see advertisements from a decade past but, alas, it was from 2010 and the only funny ad I could find was the Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga Mac Campaign).
Aside from the socioeconomic divide between us and the partygoers, we stuck out like sore thumbs for a lot of reasons. First, we were at least twenty years younger than most partygoers because the partygoers tonight were definitely big donors and people involved with the Princess Grace Foundation. There were lots of old, fabulous looking socialites, celebrities like Raquel Welch and Joan Collins (WHO WE MISSED!! HOW DID WE MISS JOAN COLLINS!?! HOW?????) juxtaposed with young “Doing my best to look just like Grace so you’ll love me more!” actresses like Amber Heard and Dianna Agron, both of which looked fabulous and who men were fawning over. (Quick aside on that: one bespectacled father and son duo took a liking to hitting on these young ladies, where the father would sit across the room smoking an electronic cigarette, send his son over to hit on her, and then the two would gab about it while watching her. It was a fantastic people watching moment.)
The other thing that made us stick out was that we were totally out of the clique. This event was likely the most exclusive, tying these socialites and industry people to celebrate Grace. If you were not a socialite or a Hollywood insider, you were on the sidelines. It was like a solar system of conversational planets in a room together and we, along with two or three other satellites, watched all the action. This wasn’t a bad thing because, of course, we went in expecting just to know our Vanity Fair friends. It did make for an interesting analyzation of body language, creating backstories for people with interesting takes on fashion, and a deep discussion on the history of surgical science, money, and plastic surgery.
The biggest thing to note was that we looked different in dress. Even though I knew going in that it was going to be an older crowd and slightly dressier given where the event was housed, I blindly picked clothes that I knew looked great but that would not fit in. It made sense in my head as I put them in my bookbag and hopped on my bike but they were likely the silliest concoction of clothes I could have worn. What was this outfit, you ask? Why, it was salmon skinny pants, a purple and white checked collared shirt (short sleeves) buttoned up to the top without a tie, with a bright aqua sweater tied around my shoulders. Silly color blocking? Yes, please! I looked like I was at a Grace Jones tribute–not a Grace Kelly tribute. Don’t believe me? Look below:
As you can tell, I looked really great. And, as you can also tell, we were photographed at the event!!!! We are practically famous!! We were listed as the “general view of the atmosphere” in the photo–can you believe that?? We are HoLLyWoOd AtMoSpHeRe! How exciting! TIME TO CALL MY MOTHER AND BLAST “BIG TIME” BY PETER GABRIEL!!!!!
After about an hour, we figured we should head home to get work done. Thus, we finished our little glasses of rose prosecco and scooted along. We were sure to take in the hotel because, really, it was the biggest star of the show and, really, we’ll probably never get a chance to go back there again. We slowly walked through the exit area, passing the iPad girl, then realizing we didn’t get a gift bag. As expected, we returned to grab a gift bag because, A) we have no shame, B) needed to mention what they were handing out for this article, and C) we wanted to further make ourselves feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.
What was in the gift bags, which were made out of velvet coated paper (and, yes, I did use it for a pillow last night), was a giant magazine to honor Princess Grace along with the aforementioned Vanity Fair. There was also a Mont Blanc USB that came with each Princess Grace magazine that had a look at the products, including jewelry, watches, and pens.
At the valet, we joked about our car arriving and us being the only ones with a bike in the backseat. Mid-joke, though, we noticed a slightly startling scene of a man who was definitely a slightly inebriated octogenarian hopping into his Audi with his wife, only to coast out of the parking lot in neutral until realizing the car was not in drive, which then came like a swift kick to the gas pedal (revs and all). Our black 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle arrived right after and was perfectly eclipsed by the black Maserati that was next to us.
We drove home thinking about where to get dinner, wishing we had the time to have gotten to try Wolfgang Puck At Hotel Bel Air. Instead, we went with the next most obvious choice, which of course is fit for the Princesses we are: Chipotle. Is this not the dinner of elegance? Princess Grace would approve, right?
No, she definitely wouldn’t.
Party photos courtesy of Vanity Fair/Getty Images.