Live From the Independent Spirit Awards

While the rest of you were watching the Oscars red carpet, I was getting schooled on the next scary infectious disease coming our way (chikungunya), learning about restorative, regenerative architecture from an architect who used the wing of a 747 to build a hilltop house in Malibu, Calif., (David Hertz), and getting a sneak peek of the future of transportation (think electric skateboards and other rideables).

That’s because I spent Oscar Sunday at TEDx Venice Beach, an independently organized TED event themed “think small.”

But that’s not all I did this past weekend. I got a big dose of awards season hoopla on Saturday afternoon, when I attended my fifth (or is that sixth?) Independent Spirit Awards. The raucous ceremony honors independent filmmakers and takes place beneath a tent on Santa Monica Beach the day before the Academy Awards. The two ceremonies typically feature a big overlap in nominees, and this year was no different. Actors Patricia Arquette, Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons, and the makers of Birdman were among the winners at both awards shows.

As a guest of Spirit Awards sponsor Piaget, I was given special access to the lounge where the Swiss jeweler and watchmaker debuted its luscious Mediterranean Garden collection—and where its new ambassador, Oscar- nominated actress Jessica Chastain, posed for the paparazzi wearing white gold and diamond earrings from the collection, along with matching white gold and diamond Possession bracelets on each wrist. She looked stunning and—thanks to her big, authentic smile—so gracious.


Courtesy Piaget

Jessica Chastain wears earrings from Piaget’s new Mediterranean Garden collection and matching Possession bracelets to the Independent Spirit Awards on Feb. 21.

This year, hosts Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell helped celebrate the Spirit Awards’ 30th anniversary with an amusing routine that poked fun at just about every personality in the room. I had a blast with my seatmate, jewelry expert and InStyle contributing editor Marion Fasel, as we sized up the evening’s red carpet winners (hands down, the sexy starlet award goes to husky-voiced Scarlett Johansson).

A selfie in the Piaget lounge at the Spirit Awards, with a necklace from the new Mediterranean Garden collection behind me

By the time I got home on Sunday night, the Oscars were more than halfway over, so I had to rely on social media to get up to speed on how jewelry fared during the evening. From what I can tell, we can safely declare 2015 “the year of the statement necklace.” 

From Margot Robbie’s killer Van Cleef & Arpels zipper necklace to Cate Blanchett’s intricate Tiffany & Co. turquoise bib to ScarJo’s cascade of green gems, the focal point moved from the ears to the neckline—thank God! While I didn’t think all of the looks hung together perfectly, I was thrilled to see Hollywood’s leading ladies move beyond simple diamond studs into riskier, yet far more interesting, jewelry territory.

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