Rockstar Mansion NYE; through the eyes of a photographer.
Story by Jonathan Brewer.
On Dec 31, 2016. I found myself driving to the event of a lifetime. I had been invited to shoot numerous high-end fashion lines showcasing at the very exclusive New Year's Eve affair in Beverly Hills, California. Not only was I about to experience my first multiple fashion shoot, but the fashion event was also to be held at the Beverly Hills Rockstar Mansion! Needless to say, I quickly realized that this was an opportunity of a lifetime. My adrenaline started pumping furiously as I neared the end of the journey to the venue. I gawked at the flashing lights and bustling crowd that lined Sunset Boulevard, the last major street until the foothills in which the mansion resided.
Even though I had arrived an hour before the designated start time that was printed on the flyer, the extremely narrow Beverly Hills streets surrounding the venue were clogged with parked cars and guests trying to drive up to the entrance. There was so little space on the streets that only one direction of traffic was able to pass through at once. After an hour of navigating traffic while driving through winding hills, I finally was able to find a shoulder parking spot that was a little under a half of a mile away from the mansion. As I made my way up, I could hear the bass pulsing from the music on the two massive dance floors that the quasi-palace had to offer. By the time I arrived at the front entrance, there were multiple police officers and security guards directing traffic to a designated parking structure that was located 5 blocks away.
I navigated past the swarm of guests that were in the street and into a line of people that led up to the massive wrought iron gates that guarded the driveway to the mansion. I was able to enter the event without any issues thanks to a media pass. As I was ushered through the gate, I was quickly greeted by one of the fashion designers and escorted to the back room where the fashion designers and models were mingling. On my way to the room, I could not help but notice the lavishness of the estate. First of all, the mansion was exquisite in itself with expansive halls, expensive flooring options and multiple terraces suited for guest entertainment. The patrons complemented the extravagance of the venue. Very important personalities were in attendance; one such person being Gene Chang. Gene has done everything from Directing brands like Cinemoi to spearheading International film and fashion festivals in France, London and other parts of the world. He currently serves as a global ambassador to La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. On this very night, Gene, as well as everybody else, was dressed fashionably. Fitted, tailored suits was the garb of choice for the gentlemen and flashy dresses were the garb of choice or the ladies. In the back room, everybody was rushing around in an effort to get ready for the red carpet event. On multiple occasions, fashion designers hushed the crowd to announce last minute changes to runway lineup. I pulled out my camera and started taking candid photos of the designers and models. Before I knew it, the fashion show had begun. Unfortunately, I was still in the back room when the models started going heading down the runway. I rushed out to the other end of the runway, which was populated with other professional photographers trying to get the perfect shots for their respective designers.
Multiple runway shows such as Adolfo Sanchez, Karl Kani and One Believe were executed flawlessly. Both male and female models strutted down the runway with class and confidence. The clothing line was designed to raise awareness about prominent social issues and stereotypes that are present in today’s society. The young models were definitely the right choice of people to portray the intended fashion statement. Their youth and purpose radiated through their posture and attitude, which further embedded their impression on the onlookers. The rest of the fashion show was exquisite (for full video click here). Multiple world-known designers attended the show to showcase their newest fashion line. Security was constantly pushing back the crowd (including the photographers) to give the models enough room on the runway to walk and pose. I was so caught up in the whole experience that the fashion portion literally ended as soon as it began.
After the fashion show was over, I walked around candidly taking videos of the event. There were multiple levels to the estate. The second level consisted of a group meeting area, an open bar, and a large room that resembled a nightclub. The area was packed with mingling patrons. The third level consisted of a tennis court and more gathering areas. I didn’t go all the way to the top level, but there were at least 2 more levels of the mansion that I didn’t explore. All of the fanfare was backdropped by a fantastic view of the Los Angeles skyline. At midnight, everyone counted down and cheered as we all watched the numerous firework displays throughout the city. It was a fabulous night and a fabulous end to the year of 2016. I couldn't think of any better way to spend my New Year’s Eve. View more pictures in the gallery below.