Vanity Fair's $2 Million Orgy

While insiders make a lot of noise about how the super-exclusive Oscar pre-parties have replaced Vanity Fair's understated, post-awards affair at Mortons in the black hearts of fickle A-listers, the elite would punch their assistants in the throat if an invite to Graydon Carter's Hollywood reacharound failed to arrive. So how much does VF drop on its annual industry orgy? BizBash reports:

The Vanity Fair party at Mortons with its well-documented reputation as the evening's most exclusive, star-studded party comes with a price tag estimated at $2 million (the magazine's PR team didn't respond to our requests for comment). In past years, the party has featured a 30-foot-long, 10-foot-tall myrtle topiary in the shape of the magazine's title, lighting by lighting-designer-to-Buckingham-Palace Patrick Woodroffe, and tables set with Asprey accessories and custom-made engraved enamel lighters.


But the price of the party also includes dollars spent long before the doors to Mortons swing open. Cond Nast, the mag's New York publisher, flies as many as 30 staffers to Los Angeles to prepare for as long as three weeks; they stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel and drive rented cars. (While low-end car rentals start around $50 a day, you can bet these folks aren't driving the cheapest models, and the hotel's guest rooms start at $410 per night and go way up from there and it doesn't offer a group rate.)

While $2 million might seem like a pretty steep price for a one-night event, it's a relative bargain for the magazine to retain its position as the most-esteemed fellator of the entertainment industry. In their defense, most of the money spent does wind up "on the screen," as it were—those will be the real tears of Guatemalan babies streaming down that fifteen-foot-high water wall, not the cut-rate Southeast Asian lacrimal secretions lesser hosts try to pass off at their events. And VF did realize some significant savings by demanding that all appearance fees for the Tom Ford Titty-Biting Booth were included in the designer's guest-editing contract for the Hollywood issue, preventing further bloat in the party's swelling budget.