This LA Life: The Big Hollywood Premiere Party™

Because of where we work and who we know, occasionally someone slips us tickets to a “red carpet” movie premiere and the “after-party,” usually a noisy, Wolfgang Puck-catered affair in a giant tent set up in a parking lot somewhere.

The first couple of times we attended one of these, I was excited but absolutely panicked about what to wear. I had nothing “cool,” (this is LA…), nothing remotely Sex-and-the-City-esque, and worried that we’d be barred entry at the door due to my imagined frumpitude. Of course, those worries were baseless. Sure, one sees the Starlet-Wannabees and the occasional Celebrity* but for the most part, attendees are a broad mix of people who work behind the scenes in the movie business and show up in their very best Dockers and Gap, young people dressed for the clubs they’ll hit afterward, the Suits who have come directly from work, and various members of the public who have won radio contests or whatever. So (almost) anything goes. The unwritten code at these things is that it’s better to be a little under-dressed than over-dressed, unless one is in the “going-clubbing-after” or “trying-to-land-a-slot-on-a-reality-show” demographics. For the rest of us, Trying Too Hard is a cardinal sin, and indicative that one is Not In The Industry. Ultimately, beyond a quick glance to ascertain that you are not Somebody Famous, no one pays any attention to what you’re wearing.

We plebes do not walk the red carpet prior to the movie. We are ushered around to the side, asked for our passes 800 times, misdirected at least once, and herded like cattle first into the theater and then afterward (for those with the magic party passes) to the site a few blocks away where the music is already thumping and the lines at the bar stations are five deep. Tuesday night was no different. Usually by the time we actually get into the party tent, I’m already cranky and on the verge of sensory overload. (Despite my gregarious nature, I’m really not fond of crowds.) First order of business is an alcoholic beverage, then with the edge off I can tolerate the crush of people and noise and relax enough to observe and enjoy the scene. Best case scenario: we find some people we know to hang out with, score some seating, and locate the least crowded food and drink stations.

So what did I wear? I’ve learned to go with what’s comfortable. Grey velvet tank and black beaded cardigan, my Gerard Darel big faux pearls, black jeans and my Fluevog boots.

To answer the questions I’m guessing you’re asking:
1. No, I’m not a big Michael Jackson fan.
2. Yes, the movie is very impressive. If you are an MJ fan you will probably really love it.
3. The first vodka martini was just what the doctor ordered. The second was probably not my best move on a weekday night.

*Usually the actual Celebrities/Movie Stars™ are ushered off to a private, VIP party area, or leave once they’re certain their picture has been taken.

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  1. Daer Pseu, it’s so nice to read that such parties are the same all over the world. I remember my disappointment 30 years ago after my first party where a lot of famous Dutch and Belgian writers were present.
    Now it is a relief to know that people are not interested when you are not “somebody”. It gives one the space to relax and watch.
    I am not a big MJ fan either, funny how everybody wants to be associated with him now that he is death.
    But I like his voice, so gentle and shy.
    I have those Darel pearls too, they are great.
    Enjoyed your Paris blogs very much, thank you for sharing.

  2. Sounds like you have deconstructed the social context of these things perfectly:). BTW, I wore a scarf yesterday. I rarely do that. Entirely your inspiration…

  3. Even being a rubberneckin nobody can be sort of fun at those events…(when you think about it, THE central person was REALLY Not There). And it sounds like you looked lovely… I think it is probably just as tedious for the performers to go to view a film they did a year ago(where their best scene was probably cut) and be shunted around to venues where they furiously peddle their talents to producers and directors. Just another industry party…eeeech!

  4. “For the rest of us, Trying Too Hard is a cardinal sin, and indicative that one is Not In The Industry. Ultimately, beyond a quick glance to ascertain that you are not Somebody Famous, no one pays any attention to what you’re wearing.”
    So very true, and thank god for that!

  5. Boy, is that the truth about martinis! That first one is so wonderful, you have to convince yourself that the second will be a pale and somewhat sickly imitation of the first. Usually I have the strength to do it, but like you, sometimes I throw caution to the wind and pay the price later.

  6. I would love to see the MJ movie. You are so privileged to have the connections 🙂

    Even through all the hassles and frustrations, still chalk it up to a life experience.

  7. The only Hollywood premiere party that I made a beeline for was Ocean’s 13. To see George, Brad (and his woman), and Matt in person was worth the traffic in Hollywood. I didn’t know what to wear either but when George walks behind you on the red carpet as we leave the theater and Cindy Crawford is in front of you with her hubby I discovered that no one cares. It was funny seeing the paparazzi drop their cameras as we walked by them.


  8. Glou – I swear, those pearls have been one of my best buys in years. Glad you enjoyed the Paris posts! Yes, it’s very much a relief to be anonymous. I wouldn’t want to be famous in that way, too much pressure!

    Duchesse – thanks! Yes, I’ve become a bit jaded, but there are times when I’d really just rather give the whole thing a pass. I was going for casual/funky and think I achieved it.

    Sal – it’s rarely as glamourous as the they’d have you believe.

  9. metscan – it’s not a scene for introverts, that’s for sure!

    Denise – LOL, were you in my head?? The first one was divine, and I should’ve gone for a mineral water after that. I don’t sleep well after too much alcohol.

    Sher – yes, I remind myself how fortunate we are to get to attend these events. Go see the movie!! I was reminded of just how incredibly talented and focused he was, even if his personal life was a bit of a freak show.

  10. LPC – oh, I’m so glad I could be the inspiration for a bit of scarf wearing!

    Katriona – being a rubbernecking nobody is the best! You can get up and dance with a 60-something grandma in a skull tee shirt, and no one bats an eye.

    Belle – thank God indeed. Otherwise I’d have to have someone else dress me for these things!

  11. Stafford Wife – wow, you must have had connections to get to walk in on the R.C.! Yes, it is funny about the paparazzi. I chatted it up with one paparazzi who was waiting outside as we left the party, but even then he didn’t waste a shot on me.

    Tish – the first martini settled my nerves, and the second said “par-tay!” but wasn’t so good for my sleep.

    Anoninoz – the best I was hoping for was to not look like a tourist. 😉

  12. Bonjour Madame – so glad you enjoyed!

    Bonnie-Ann – her review was fabulous! I’ve forwarded the link to several friends.

    materfamilias – they’ll get out plenty now that the weather has cooled down, and I’ve worn them a couple of times and are reminded how comfortable they are! LOVE these boots!!

  13. Thanks for giving us the inside scoop about the Hollywood parties. I’d feel totally intimidated about going to one.

    Love your Fluevog Boots! Do they hurt your feet? I have a lovely pair of flats that I bought at their store in the Village and the shoes just kill my feet to walk in. (They felt so great in the store.)

    Love your blog!

  14. The premières I get invited to due to work are more what you would call arthouse or marginal, but that suits me fine. Sometimes after working on stuff I’m too tired to make more than a token appearance. But my favourite party always has tartines with local smoked salmon and trout…

    Glou, yes indeed it is the same in the countries I’m familiar with. In Dutch-speaking cultures I have the problem of understanding pretty much everything (I’ve been to Amsterdam, and to both Flemish and Walloon parts of Belgium for work in recent years, and speak German as well as English – obviously I speak French, and also Italian and Spanish. You’ll be interestend that a Flemish friend insists on speaking Dutch to me – the Amsterdamers speak English to all “furriners”. I’m humbled that I’m better off buying a stupid tabloid newspaper in Dutch than an intellectual broadsheet – but with short little sentences I can understand everything.

    I’m not an MJ fan at all; understand his technical prowess but see him as one of those icons of 1980s emptiness…

    The Paris posts were wonderful and I thought of you when trying on merino scarves in beautiful colours. Couldn’t make up my mind – I bought cute little booties today, in very soft leather. Have you ever been to Montréal? I should get a camera, as I saw many smashing examples of street chic, including a woman cycling with a large umbrella à la Amsterdam and a brilliant red Vespa parked on a grey drizzly street, in front of our greystones.