ELLEUK

Holiday Inspiration

LA Lowdown

By Susan Ward Davies

February is nearly over, but LA is seeing it out with a bang. The final weekend of the month saw the most important event in the city’s social calendar – the 85th Annual Academy Awards, which took place in Hollywood’s recently renamed Dolby Theatre (6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, Enq: 323 308-6300, dolbytheatre.com). Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane hosted, and Jennifer Lawrence, Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain were all nominated. But, as always, the real fun was at the afterparties hosted by Vanity Fair and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which shared the joint honour of being the most celeb-studded in town.

Unsurprisingly, the weekend of the Grammy Awards proved to be a particularly hectic affair, too, with pre-parties and afterparties popping up all over the town. As always, the paparazzi-free environs of Soho House West Hollywood (9200 Sunset Blvd, CA 90069, Enq: 310 432-9200, sohohousewh.com) proved to be a popular refuge for celebrities, with Drake and his posse partying there on Friday night and Rihanna, Beyonce and Jay-Z attending RocNation’s annual pre-Grammys brunch the following morning. A couple of days later, Jay-Z and Beyonce had another, considerably more private brunch date at chic restaurant Gjelina (1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, 310-450-1429, gjelina.com) in Venice Beach, where Kelly Rowland has chosen to celebrate her birthday.

Elsewhere, Levi’s celebrated 140 years of their iconic 501 jeans with a blowout birthday bash at the Ace Museum (400 La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, Enq: 323 965-8200, acemuseum.org) in West Hollywood. A spectacularly cool crowd including Solange Knowles and Tyler The Creator gathered to sip Patron-based cocktails and take in the dulcet tones of Frank Ocean and a DJ set from M83.

After wooing a crowd of hundreds at the Levi’s party (with many more left waiting patiently outside), it was hardly a surprise that Frank went on to scoop up two Grammies at the 55th Annual ceremony two days later. Held at the Nokia Theater in downtown LA (L.A. Live, 777 Chick Hearn Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90015, Enq: 213 763-6030, nokiatheatrelalive.com) this year’s awards were attended by…well, just about everyone, with the Chateau Marmont (8221 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046, Enq: 323 656-1010, chateaumarmont.com) proving to be the hottest afterparty around (attendees included Lena Dunham, Lana Del Rey and John Mayer, to name but a few).

An equally hot ticket? The long-awaited opening of TopShop on Valentine’s Day at The Grove (189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036, Enq: (888) 315-8883, thegrovela.com), where 10,000 people waited in line from 5am. Once inside, they were rewarded with 25,000 square feet of sparkly new retail space and sightings of Kate Bosworth, Kelly Osbourne, and Nicole Scherzinger. Instore entertainment came from Demi Lovato, who braved a broken leg to perform for the frenzied masses – in a bespoke, studded leg cast, no less. Our kinda girl.

In downtown LA, super-hip The Standard hotel (550 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071, Enq: 213 892-8080, standardhotels.com/downtown-la) teamed up with SPiN Galactic to launch its vast new ping pong social club, complete with 11 Olympic-grade ping-pong tables, three bars, gourmet game snacks, music and DJ stations. With Susan Sarandon as its somewhat unlikely ambassador (and co-host of the event, alongside The Standard’s suave hotelier owner André Balazs) ping pong is fast becoming the nation’s coolest recreational pastime. Proof came in the form of a crowd of stylish guests including Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte and Vince Gallo, who made it to the final of the grand opening tournament.

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