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Swag Season

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It's a truism that Los Angeles is a city of contrasts. There are so many shops and services that cater to the rich that one grows used to the idea that you exist in a two or three-tiered city, where only the privileged few have access to some goods and services. It's no big deal.But we grow weary of having the news foisted on us by the media. Already, there's been news bits about the $38,390 basket of love awaiting Golden Globe presentersand soon we will hear all about the goodies awaiting celebs and their handlers at Sundance or in town for the awards season (why doesn't some enterprising young publisher just compile all the press releases on what celeb received which complimentary doodad this time and publish a periodical called "Swagazine").

Indeed, the 1/12/05 issue of Women's Wear Daily gives details about Suite 401, "a season-long invite-only collaborative" at the Argyle Hotel in WeHo, which WWD considers " the next step in awards super-suites: Swiss luxury goods group Richemont is entering the game with the launch of Suite 401... Goodies from Richemont brands Cartier, Chloé, Dunhill, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels, to name a few, will be exclusively available to celebrities, stylists and entertainment executives from today to March 30. To keep out the riffraff that has become a common nuisance at so many suites around town, the gauntlet has been thrown down: No invite, no entry."

No kidding.

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Ordinarily, we always just laugh when we read of such elitist indulgence, but it just seems kinda wasteful and insensitive to spend all that money on products when people's belongings, let alone loved ones, have been covered in mud or swept out to sea this winter.

We'd like to see some luxury purveyor set up a suite at one of the swanky hotels for celebs to sign cards for fundraising purposes or just donate the value of all the stuff in cash to the survivors in South Asia.

God knows the folks in La Conchita might actually enjoy a full-service spa from Fred Segal Beauty. They certainly deserve it more than the snow bunnies in Park City.

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