Julia Roberts, Ice Spice, Robert De Niro and More Party Before the Oscars Even Start

LOS ANGELES — “It’s like a little party,” Julia Roberts said Friday afternoon, standing in a hotel suite in West Hollywood, decked out in black tuxedo pants and a crisp white shirt from Celine.

Her red hair was pulled back in a perfect bun. On her face, she wore hunter-green eyeglasses.

To Roberts’ left was her longtime stylist, Elizabeth Stewart. To her right was her longtime publicist, Marcy Engelman. At a table by the windows was her new friend Edward Enninful, the outgoing editor-in-chief of British Vogue.

It was two days before the Oscars, and the parties were already in full swing. At some, the movies were the main thing being celebrated. At others, the upcoming awards merely served as a pretext for luxury brands to place their products on actors and actresses, rappers and singers, basketball players and TikTok influencers.

In the late 1980s, when Roberts’ career took off, she mostly dressed herself for appearances, she said.

And did my own hair and makeup,” she added, flashing her luminescent smile. “That was back when a friend could call you and say, ‘I have a movie premiere,’ and you’d say, ‘Oh, I’ll come,’ and you’d just get dressed.”

But times changed, luxury brands expanded and movie budgets shrank.

In the 1990s, Roberts worked with Armani, which was among the first brands to see the full potential of the celebrity endorsement. In the early 2000s, she met Stewart on a shoot for The New York Times Magazine. After trying out several stylists, Roberts settled down with her.

Roberts is a person who, when asked for the name of an actor whose style she most likes, mentions Frances McDormand. “She shows up to the Tonys in a jean jacket,” she said.

Now, Roberts has collaborated with Caroline Scheufele, the co-president and artistic director of Chopard, on a turquoise and pink capsule collection cut from pink rubellite and a 6,225-carat emerald, which in its original form weighed close to 3 pounds.

Roberts did not pretend to have done much more on the necklace than provide Chopard with ideas about what she liked.

The brand, in turn, produced it, and she wore it Friday evening to a dinner at the Chateau Marmont, where waiters served fried calamari and Caesar salad, and models marched the room in evening wear produced by Chopard.

Was there a single nominee from this year’s crop of best picture hopefuls among the crowd of about 100 people?

It didn’t seem so, although there were past winners, chief among them Roberts and her table mate, Elton John, who has won two gold statues over the years in the category of best original song.

And that was more than anyone could say for the hipsterish, millennial crowd at the presentation of “The Double Club,” a project with artist Carsten Höller put on by Prada, at Luna Luna Studios, near the recently restored art amusement park.

Luna Luna opened in Hamburg, Germany, in 1987, and featured rides by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. The restoration, which was backed by Drake’s DreamCrew, the rapper’s media company, opened nearby late last year.

Guests on one side of the club took rides on a carousel, and guests on the other tested out a roller coaster.

In the center, people danced to ’90s house music in front of a mammoth, curvilinear sculpture lit with hundreds of bulbs that pulsed with red and pink light, designed by Höller.

Drake, who did not attend, curated the music programming, and Anderson .Paak as D.J. Pee .Wee, Lil Wayne and Travis Scott would perform much later that evening.

In walked Ice Spice, the 24-year-old, Bronx-born rapper. Fresh off a plane from New York, clad in Prada black, she wasn’t prepared to stick around to the end. “I’m still on East Coast time,” she said.

The list of designers clamoring to dress the viral-hit-making singer also includes Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs and Dolce & Gabbana.

So while she was not sure whether the outfit she was wearing would have to be sent back to Prada at the end of the weekend, it was clear more designer duds would soon be on the way, including for Vanity Fair’s post-Oscars party.

“I’m going for the first time,” she said. “I’m really excited about that.”

It so happened that there were actual nominees and industry Goliaths on hand at the annual dinner Chanel hosted the next evening at the Beverly Hills Hotel, with art collector Charles Finch.

Cocktails were served in a garden area in front of the Polo Lounge, where the trees were lit with twinkling lights and waiters walked around and served margaritas and martinis.

Posing on the red carpet was Margot Robbie, who produced and starred in “Barbie,” which was nominated for best picture. She was decked out in a shimmering black silk jacket from Chanel adorned with feathers.

Robert De Niro, nominated for best supporting actor for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” took a seat inside, looking not exactly happy that photographer and street artist JR was taking his picture.

Usher stood a few yards away, swathed in a sheer, black Chanel button-down shirt that he outfitted with Harley-Davidson chaps and vintage Ralph Lauren jeans. Diamonds from Chanel dangled from his neck.

When asked if the jewels would soon gain a place in his safe without the aid of his credit card, he said, “From your lips to God’s ears.”

In walked Kerry Washington, wearing a red leather Chanel skirt and a white leather Chanel jacket under which she was sporting a Chanel top adorned with the brand’s signature Cs.

So what if the forecast for Oscars night was sleepy, with best actress nominee Lily Gladstone seeming like practically the only likely future winner not associated with “Oppenheimer”?

“I think there are always surprises at the Oscars,” Washington said. “That’s part of why we all watch it.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.