“We obviously hope to keep them in West Hollywood,” mayor pro tempore John Heilman tells TheWrap as speculation on the new location swirls
One and done.
Vanity Fair’s Oscar night party will not be returning to Sunset Plaza in West Hollywood next year, the magazine confirmed to TheWrap.
After five years at the Sunset Tower Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, the magazine moved the A-list gathering half a mile west this past Oscar night.
They built a custom space on the south side of Sunset Plaza in the parking lot behind sidewalk cafes Chin Chin, Le Clafoutis, and Le Petit Four at 8680 Sunset Blvd.
Known as a tourist hotspot the other 364 days of the year, Sunset Plaza was an unlikely location for Oscar-winning actors, producers, directors, and the captains of the entertainment industry to gather in two tents as guests of Graydon Carter.
The restaurants, clothing stores and beauty based businesses at the Plaza, like Eden Sassoon’s beauty bar and the Ole Henriksen Spa, had to close early on Oscar Sunday to accommodate Vanity Fair and its tiered invites, staggered throughout the night.
A spokesperson for Vanity Fair declined to elaborate on the reasons for the move or where they might go next.
The City of West Hollywood, which also hosts the Elton John Aids Foundation Oscar Viewing Party on the same night and welcomes many city leaders, industry power players and celebrities, had not been informed of VF’s plans in advance.
“It is a remarkably successful event and we have been honored to have it in West Hollywood,” the city’s mayor pro tempore John Heilman told TheWrap.
“It is truly the place to be seen after the award show. We’ve had a good relationship with the organizers of the event and we will be working closely with them as they consider other locations. We obviously hope to keep them in West Hollywood,” Heilman said.
That relationship usually involves closing lanes on Sunset Blvd. for about 10 hours, allowing private security to tell people where they can and can not walk their dogs in surrounding neighborhoods, popping up tow-away zones, and having the glossy send letters to nearby residents. This was the protocol when the party was at the Sunset Tower.
As for where they might head for the 21st edition of the party, initial reaction from the industry is that people with access and relationships to the Vanity Fair party, guard that relationship like their “Fight Club” membership.
Speculation on where it might go is centering on Beverly Hills.
“If they were to consider a venue in Beverly Hills city proper, that would be suicide,” one unenthusiastic and frequent VF guest told TheWrap anonymously. “That area code rolls up its sidewalks at 8 p.m.”
“It is no surprise they want to move,” another Oscar season veteran told TheWrap.
While Vanity Fair denied to E! News that they were interested in the courtyard outside Bouchon in Beverly Hills or the Beverly Hills Hotel, the source relates that the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts may have been a contender last year.
Back up on Sunset, “the Beverly Hills Hotel boycott is losing steam,” the source said. Still, even by next February, the lingering stink of the hotel boycott for the royal owner’s anti-LGBT, Sharia law based intolerance in Brunei would likely offend high-profile sensibilities on the guest list.
Another Sunset Blvd. space known for the same sort of privacy and mystique that Vanity Fair cherishes is Soho House. The members only club was rumored as the new home for the party several years ago.
The current thinking is it would not work because of the low occupancy and strict idiosyncrasies of the space at 9200 Sunset above Boa.
“SoHo House can’t happen and it likely won’t,” the frequent guest told TheWrap, citing the fire marshall’s “over-sensitivity for that specific real estate.”
“Past parties there like CAA’s pre-Oscar bash or The Weinstein Company and Chopard’s nominee celebration become horror shows within minutes — impossible valet drop off, pissed off fire marshall, powerless check-in people getting screamed at.”
Representatives for Soho House did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Another option is Sam Nazarian’s SLS Beverly Hills, which could represent a return to a hotel property. This one is bigger than the Sunset Tower and has handled large scale multiple room glam, like WME’s Holiday party.
It feels like an event that brand would love to host and should pursue. Due to the impending opening of the SLS Las Vegas this weekend, representatives for the SLS were unable to provide a comment at the time of this publication.
Going downtown would be shocking and unexpected. VF would have a blank canvas to work with and eager local officials happy to welcome the exposure for the glamorous event. It is unlikely to happen.
Even with the party-equivalent of production tax incentives to go to the 213, creatively it would tear apart the convenient A-list talent template on Oscar night: First, the Academy Awards, then the Governors Ball, then Elton John, Vanity Fair, and finishing at Guy Oseary’s celebrity-only party in the hills late in the night.
Last year, Jennifer Lawrence‘s blogger buddy Laura Simpson who wrote about her Oscar night as a semi-invisible +1 with the nominee ran in to Rachel Zoe at Oseary’s bash. Zoe told her she looked “mage” (apparently, Zoe’s highest compliment), which signaled the peak of the night and the time to retire.
Sounds like the type of anecdote that would fit neatly in the pages of Graydon’s glossy.
More to come.
E! News’ Marc Malkin first reported news of Vanity Fair’s move.