Behind the Scenes at Clinique's Dramatically Different Party in NYC

Tons of celebrity guests turned up to celebrate the new and improved moisturizer.
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Michelle Villett
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Tons of celebrity guests turned up to celebrate the new and improved moisturizer.
Clinique Dramatically Different party invitation

After nearly a decade in the beauty biz (*reaches for wrinkle cream*), I've attended my share of product launches. Nina Ricci in Paris may have had the most over-the-top, theatrical art installations, and Dick Page in Toronto was incredibly intimate and indulgent—but in NYC, they know how to throw a PARTY.

Today, I'm giving you an insider's peek at the Clinique soiree I attended in June along with an array of celebrity guests (!!) and beauty industry VIPs. It was totally surreal. And if you've ever looked at paparazzi party photos and wondered what these things are really like, now you'll know...

So let's get to it! I flew into NYC with Clinique's Canadian publicist and the Cityline crew, and as is usually the case with these PR trips, had a few hours of free (read: shopping) time before I had to be ready that evening for the event. When we arrived at the location, right in Rockefeller Center, we were greeted with this:

Clinique Dramatically Different party - moisturizer wall

That's right, it's a WALL of moisturizers.

Clinique Dramatically Different party - moisturizer wall
Clinique Dramatically Different party - moisturizer wall

How cool is that?! There were more than 4,000 bottles so I can't even imagine how long it took to assemble. Actually, I can—apparently this whole party was something like a year in the making. That's how much work and planning goes into these things! (Crazy, right?) These NYC PR people have such high-level event planning skillz that they could probably execute something normal like a wedding with their eyes closed. I'm talking military precision and every little detail thought out.

I should tell you that the whole point of the party was this guy:

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Plus

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+, C$32.00/US$26.00

Did you know that the original Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion first launched in 1968 and is STILL the best-selling prestige moisturizer around the world?

(Who else out there used it as your first moisturizer? I sure did!)

Anyway, as you know, skincare science has grown by leaps and bounds since then. So Clinique's scientists were challenged with updating the formula to deliver even more benefits, but without changing the silky texture and quick absorption that customers love. It took six years and 100 trials to create Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+, the "plus" being double the hydration and moisture barrier benefits without even a drop of additional oil. The new ingredients in the updated formula include hyaluronic acid, glycerin and urea. I gave it a go and it seemed just like the original to me. Sweet!

(It's been out at Clinique counters in the U.S. since June, but just launching this month in Canada... which is why I had to wait until now to tell you about it!)

So let's get back to the party because I've got loads more to share. This is what the space looked like upon exiting the elevator. Notice all the Clinique girls were wearing white.

Clinique Dramatically Different party

Just around the corner from the moisturizer wall was the step and repeat... and oh look! It's Stacy Keibler looking very svelte.

Stacy Keibler - Clinique Dramatically Different party 2013

Here's her close-up:

Stacy Keibler - Clinique Dramatically Different party 2013

So glowy, my goodness! (George Clooney, are you sure you know what you're doing, letting this girl go?)

Another celebrity guest was Petra Nemcova, who I now have a total girl crush on, but more on that in a bit.

Petra Nemcova - Clinique Dramatically Different party 2013

She looks radiant, and that's saying something because who looks good wearing this shade of yellow—and a jumpsuit at that? I love the red lip and the fishtail braid, too.

Katharine McPhee and Emily VanCamp:

Katharine McPhee and Emily VanCamp - Clinique Dramatically Different party 2013

Here's Katharine's close-up:

Katharine McPhee - Clinique Dramatically Different party 2013

I'm totally coveting that lip colour. I wonder if it's Clinique?

Emily looked beautiful in person so I'm not sure why this photo is showing such yellow foundation. (Guess I need to stop being so hard on people in my red carpet round-ups!)

Emily VanCamp - Clinique Dramatically Different party 2013

My party buddy, Patrick from Cityline, scored an interview with her, so I got to shove my camera in her face for a while as they taped.

Emily VanCamp - Clinique Dramatically Different party 2013
Emily VanCamp - Clinique Dramatically Different party 2013

Here's Linda Cardellini:

Linda Cardellini - Clinique Dramatically Different party 2013

Love the fresh skin and rosy cheeks.

Not sure what Selita Ebanks was wearing (and neither do the Fug girls):

Clinique Dramatically Different party - Selita Ebanks

This is Australian swimsuit model Jessica Gomes:

Clinique Dramatically Different party - Jessica Gomes

I also snapped Estelle, who may need to rethink this Ombré.

Estelle - Clinique Dramatically Different party 2013

In case you want to see what these media walls look like where the celebrities pose for pictures, it's pretty much madness:

Clinique Dramatically Different party

Besides the celebs, there were also socialite DJs. Hannah Bronfman:

Clinique Dramatically Different party - DJ Hannah Bronfman

And Marjorie Gubbelmann, a.k.a. Mad Marg:

Clinique Dramatically Different party - DJ Mad Marg

They also had an area where you could get a professional portrait taken:

Clinique Dramatically Different party - Petra Nemcova portrait by Sophie Elgort

And even an artist! This is Izak Zenou:

Clinique Dramatically Different party - Izak Zenou

He did this amazing rendition of the bottle:

Clinique Dramatically Different party - artist

Tons of people were lined up to get their portraits done. (This is Ann Dexter Jones, mom to Samantha and Charlotte Ronson, FYI.)

Clinique Dramatically Different party - Ann Dexter Jones by Izak Zenou

Obviously I had to get one. Here's mine:

Clinique Dramatically Different party - Michelle by Izak Zenou

Totally going to frame this! Funnily enough, I'm also captured in this video they shot that night, right when I saw my picture. (Go to 1:41.) Ha!

Here are a couple more indoor party pics. The place was packed! I also went home with mad longing for the Givenchy Antigona bag, as I must've counted five of them in various shades. (This was my fave.)

Clinique Dramatically Different party
Clinique Dramatically Different party
Clinique Dramatically Different party

While all of this was going on, there was action on the other side of the space, which opened up into a rooftop garden:

Clinique Dramatically Different party

Ahhh, New York! Too bad it was rainy, because this was so pretty:

Clinique Dramatically Different party
Clinique Dramatically Different party

They also had a dancer, wearing a Dramatically Different shade of yellow:

Clinique Dramatically Different party - dancer
Clinique Dramatically Different party - dancer
Clinique Dramatically Different party - dancer

She also got to swing from this little set-up at the end of the garden:

Clinique Dramatically Different party
Clinique Dramatically Different party - dancer

And here's a closer look at the bar area:

Clinique Dramatically Different party

I never met a chandelier I didn't like:

Clinique Dramatically Different party

Daisies decorating the tables:

Clinique Dramatically Different party

Obviously, every NYC party also has to have handsome bartenders (pretty sure they're all actors, because regular waitstaff are never as good-looking or charming). These guys made a mean lemonade, I tell ya.

Clinique Dramatically Different party

As night fell, it really was a pretty little scene:

Clinique Dramatically Different party

Then, just before we left, I got the best shot of night:

Clinique Dramatically Different party - Petra Nemcova

Right? Petra was super-sweet to let me take a few photos and even asked if I could @ her on Twitter when I share them (which you can bet I'll be doing just as soon as I publish this post!). And what a pro with the posing. I'm serious. It's amazing when models do this—I've seen it happen before with Doutzen Kroes, too. It's like, you're talking to them and then the camera comes out, and suddenly they transform right in front of your eyes, all angles and expressions. Tyra is right. Modelling is HARD.

After that, we took the elevator down to the lobby, I changed from heels into flats... and got back to being a normal person again! (Because celebrity shoulder-rubbing aside, isn't the best part of the night coming home and putting on your jammies—no matter what?)

Tell me:

Was this party over the top or what?
Have you ever used Dramatically Different?
What are your thoughts on Petra? Emily? Stacy? Katharine?