Walking up the red carpet at the WalkerhillThe sight of guests in party costumes making their entrances on a stretch of red carpet at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel’s front door created a small stir on a recent Friday night.
Reading the colorful banner, “Party Expo Movie Star, Step on the Red Carpet,” bewildered Chinese tourists with backpacks and sneakers wondered if it was Korea’s Oscar night, and shyly asked for autographs.
The gala event ― complete with live performances by local pop stars and an international buffet ― managed to make some 350 decked-out guests feel like real celebrities.
Masters of ceremony announced awards such as “best actor” and “best dressed,” given out seemingly at random; nervous winners walked up to the stage followed by cameramen, and under spotlights they gave acceptance speeches that were projected on a large screen overhead.
Even in real life, of course, celebrities come in various types and styles. Some guests that night belonged on the set of the movie “Carrie” in their flashy polyester satin with matching platform heels; others might have come from the romantic comedy “Sixteen Candles” in their borrowed pastel-colored prom dresses circa 1980 (minus Princess Diana’s puff sleeves). A local designer prepared a series of slithering silver numbers that Ariel of “Little Mermaid” might have worn to her debutante party. If the award had been the real Hollywood thing, three fashion musketeers ― Tom, John and Christian ― would have felt left out.
Behind this tongue-in-cheek entertainment are the hotel’s marketing minds. The Walkerhill, which has its own party planners on staff, has announced its plan to hold a series of theme parties, through January. The 100-day project includes Christmas and year-end parties and other kinds of theme parties, as well as concerts, art classes for children and food festivals.
By the end of the night, the movie-star fashion was saved by one demure Korean PR woman at Issey Miyake in her up-to-date, elegant presentation. It was an off-white, floor-length gown embellished with divinely intriguing twists and knots.
by Ines Cho
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