Juicy Couture is a budding clothing brand known for its tight-fitting t-shirts and low-slung jeans favored by a celebrity clientele. Company founders Gela Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy are aware that much of the success of their line is due to the loyalty of their star-studded following, who often show up at premieres and interviews sporting Juicy wares. The duo asked PR firm Harrison & Shriftman (H&S) to help them devise a way to thank their most prominent fans, and bring attention to the expansion of their line into a fall collection filled with cashmere sweaters.
H&S came up with a fresh twist on a PR scenario that has become increasingly common in Hollywood: the gift suite, where a high-end hotel becomes the locale to host a giveaway of products and services for the well-known and glamorous. "It was a way to not only thank their celebrity following, but also invite those who hadn't known about Juicy in the past to come and be introduced to it,
explains H&S fashion director Heather Lynch.
In order to differentiate Juicy from the pack of designers that host frantic celebrity suites during Hollywood's awards season in the winter and early spring, H&S instead picked a date in July, when Tinseltown is relatively quiet, for the "day of indulgences.
The firm booked a penthouse (about $2,000 a night) with an outdoor terrace at the bohemian-trendy Chateau Marmont, a classic hotel tucked above the Sunset Strip that's a favorite of Hollywood's young elite - but that has been less used for this kind of promotional event than rivals such as L'Hermitage. "Pam and Gela would never allow their company to have the environment be extremely commercial and stale,
explains Lynch of the venue.
H&S then worked out partnerships with high-end service and goods purveyors such as BuffSpa, Nars Cosmetics, Perrier-Jouet Champagne, and Dooney & Bourke to provide free goodies such as new fabric manicures, makeovers, and handbags for celebrities who dropped by. Juicy Suite also stocked the room with 500 pieces from its current collection, from which each celeb got to pick a free outfit.
Invitations were sent out to a carefully chosen list of celebrities, editors, and socialites who had supported Juicy in the past, or to whom H&S hoped to introduce to the line. Even the invites were crafted to grab attention - each orange card was sent inside a jean pocket wrapped in an orange box.
The salon ran from 10am to 6pm for two days, and was closed to photographers except for a short period when H&S planned for its press shots. Along with the freebies offered by each vendor, Juicy Suite also gave attendees the opportunity to buy from the fall line at wholesale prices, and to customize clothes with personalized embroidery.
"It wasn't so commercial that you felt like we were pushing products," promises Lynch. The turnout was filled with exactly the kind of celebrity customers H&S hoped to attract: Sharon Stone, Tiffani Thiessen, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Estella Warren, and Jamie Pressley, to name a few. Lynch says the stars didn't just stop by for free clothes, either - most stayed for a manicure or a glass of bubbly.
"People really embraced the services,
she says. "They felt like it was just a girl's day of indulgence.
Despite the no-photographer rule, editors from magazines such as Women's Wear Daily wrote pieces on the event, and Us magazine used the photographs provided by H&S to run a four-page spread featuring celebrities sporting Juicy looks.
Lynch says more Juicy events are in the works, but probably not a repeat of the suite. "We won't do something exactly the same,
she claims. "We want to be creative.
But rest assured, celebrities will remain a big part of future Juicy marketing efforts. And keeping them happy - and pampered - will remain a top priority.