There is a wind-down season in Los Angeles when summer hits.
Back-to-back red carpet obligations slow down, TV shooting schedules often go on hiatus, and our Instagram feeds are flooded with celebrities on wildly enviable vacations. But as August rolls on, there’s one annual event that is the proverbial calm before the awards season storm — the ultimate girls’ day in: producer Jennifer Klein’s Day of Indulgence.
The super exclusive fete is unlike any other in Los Angeles, with Klein inviting her celebrity friends into her stunning home for a star-studded, women’s only day of pampering, an unbelievable array of free swag, and over 80-pound Samsonite suitcases and LeSportSac weekenders filled to the brim with gifts for each guest.
Needless to say, those who are lucky enough to get an invite do not miss it.
The 21st annual Day of Indulgence kicked off on Aug. 11, with Kerry Washington, Diane Lane, Angela Bassett, Yara Shahidi, Gabrielle Union, Maya Rudolph, Tyra Banks, and many more stars kicking back, relaxing, shopping, and enjoying spa treatments poolside. At every turn, an opportunity for them to indulge.
It was a particularly fitting treat for Debra Messing, whose birthday is just days away. “Jennifer started this over 15 years ago and it has always been the one thing in the summer to look forward to,” Messing told InStyle. “We joke because my birthday is August 15th and it's always the Sunday before it, so she always says, 'Your birthday party's coming up.’ We like to pretend it's my birthday party. But really, it's just a really great women's day, not feeling like we have to be fancy, not feeling like you have to dress up for anybody. And I just keep saying, ‘Same time next year!’”
Upon arrival, guests were greeted at the valet with iced coffees from a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf stand, but for those looking for a more mellow start to the day, servers stood right by the entrance toting trays of mini Don Julio bottles filled with signature cocktails. Christina Hendricks grabbed one as she walked inside in a floral dress. “Well look what the cat dragged in,” she said with a smile, as her Good Girls costar Retta strolled in wearing a flowy blue dress. “You look amazing!”
Mini reunions with current and former costars is just one of the event’s key attractions, and groupings of famous friends could be seen chatting in every nook and corner. Shonda Rhimes and Scandal’s Katie Lowes were two of the first to arrive, grabbing cups of Le Grand Courtage Tres Chic rosé as they mingled in the living room, which was decked out in yellow roses and sunflowers by Flower Maid. Cynthia Erivo soon joined them, flashing a big smile as Lowes gave her a hug.
“Oh my God! So good to see you,” Lowes said to Erivo, before giving her updates on her 22-month-old son. The group kept getting bigger, with Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, and Darby Stanchfield soon walking in to join the fun.
“The thing that stands out the most about this is just being able to have real conversations that aren't rushed, with Kerry, Shonda and Rashida — all Hollywood black working moms — and taking a second, where it doesn't feel like someone's pulling you in different directions," Union said. "Just to have honest, normal, eye-to-eye conversations with people that get it.”
Rhimes and the ladies of Scandal have a traditional game plan for the fete: arrive around the same time and spend the day together, catching up and shopping. “We always go on the late side. This is the first time we’re here on the early side,” Lowes said. “It’s the most fun. We catch up, we drink rosé, we shop. We’re very honest with each other, like ‘You would never wear that; you would totally rock that,’ because we know what each other’s style is and we’re very different. The stuff I’ve gotten here I actually wear — because they told me I would wear it and they’re right.”
This time, Allison Janney and Anna Faris arrive on the early side, too, with Faris telling us that Janney had their game plan ready to roll. “I saw Allison and she grabbed my hand, like ‘okay, here’s what we need to do. Armani…” Janney chimed in, saying, “We’re both product junkies. We’re product whores. It’s so much fun to go out there and see which products are going to rock our world.”
The shopping is always split into two parts: a free outdoor swag bazaar in Klein’s backyard, and pop-up boutiques in rooms throughout the home that included a mix of shopping and gifting. This time around guests could pick up looks from Theory, customized Miron Crosby boots, Rag and Bone jeans, and luxury items like Fendi booties from The Kingdom. NYDJ was a hit in the clothes department, with Angela Bassett and Christina Hendricks both snagging a pair of the brand's Marilyn straight leg jeans. Lowes was particularly enamored with an astrological necklace she picked up from the Lizzie Scheck table that has her son’s sign, Libra, in it.
The outdoor area is where everyone kicked off the day. Messing arrived early too, grabbing a pair of gold wiry TOMS Tulum sunglasses that she wore for the rest of the day. The Scandal squad, who walked around together, all got matching Sawyer shades from the pop-up, and Yara Shahidi and her mom, Keri Shahidi, couldn’t resist getting a matching pair too. “We’re always together, so every adventure has to be together,” Yara said. “I think what’s funny is we end up liking the same things here,” Keri chimed in. “We got the same TOMS shades, so catch us on our next vacation,” Yara said with a laugh.
The Quay table was also a big hit, with Maya Rudolph, Laverne Cox, and more picking up a pair of the cult-status shades, plus the brand’s new blue-light glasses that help reduce eye strain.
Per usual, the Spanx table was swarmed, with Gabrielle Union, Anna Faris, Debra Messing, and Alison Janney all raving about the nude and black Bra-Llelujah bralettes they picked up. The same was true for the Cosabella table topped with skin toned mesh thongs, and Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro pop-up where the brand’s national makeup artist Tim Quinn helped lipstick match. Washington scooped up a few shades from the table, including her favorite 415 hue.
Kristen Bell, Rashida Jones, and D’Arcy Carden hit the Anthropologie booth together, with Jones and Carden exclaiming that they were getting whatever hair accessories Bell was picking up. They scooped up satin zebra headwraps, as did Natalie Dormer who said “this matches what I’m wearing,” and wore it for the rest of the day. At the TKEES station, featuring the brand’s neon sandals, Janney grabbed nearly every design in her size.
Getting through the outdoor pop-ups took around an hour, with Angela Bassett swooning over the SkinCeuticals DOSE serum she grabbed from the brand’s customization station, as well as her Santal Carmin Atelier Cologne. Mandy Moore, Pose's MJ Rodriguez, Vanessa Bryant, Kristen Bell, and more made the rounds too, picking up lucite and gold jewelry from Alexis Bittar, Fresh beauty products, and Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serums. There was even a Benefit Cosmetics brow station where Vanessa Bayer got a brow wax.
“I used to take extra waters back in Chicago during my improv days, so a lot of people who know me well know that if you could turn my dream into a reality, it would be this event,” Bayer said.
During shopping breaks, it was time to grub and sip, and there were plenty of goodies floating around. The salad bar was the highlight yet again, with Barukas nuts, Gimme Organics seaweed snacks, and a smattering of salad dressings — flown in by Chop't — to top off the fresh greens.
There were a variety of beverages on hand to wash that down, including Spindrift, which Kristen Bell sipped, along with OLIPOP sodas (which Tyra Banks adored), Vita Coco Coconut Pressed Water, SZENT Scented Water and Icelandic Glacial water, tucked into ice-filled aluminum bins and particularly cute cans of BABE Wine, which guests grabbed off of trays. For a wellness boost, guests sipped Suja Digestion and Immunity wellness shots.
“This is about food indulgence for me,” Tyra Banks, who helped Klein start the event, told us, as she hit the salad bar. “In this town, saying no to food is almost indulgent in a way, it’s like, ‘Oh I have control over my body,’ but true indulgence is being able to let loose. It’s to eat whatever you want around these women, celebrate ourselves, celebrate these women, and take away those boundaries of saying you have to go hungry to be successful in this industry.”
Meanwhile, on the sweet side, Emma Roberts and Day of Indulgence newbie Kathryn Newton grabbed Sugarfina candies, and Yara treated herself to butterscotch lollipops from the See's Candy Bar. Snackable hits like BarkTHINS and Garrett's Popcorn were so good guests asked to take them home. Nearby, Kaley Cuoco was immediately taken by slices of the Sprinkles rainbow cake that was passed around at the end. “Oh my god, that cake!,” Cuoco said, before a server walked a tray of Jeni’s salted peanut butter ice cream cups into the room.
Post-shopping and munching, Nina Dobrev lounged poolside for a massage with NOW products, as did Retta and more stars who got hand treatments with SiO Handlift patches, Skyn Iceland eye and lip treatments, facial treatments with Shiffa Gua Shua and mani/pedis thanks to Miniluxe. Guests were also pampered with goods from Avene, Laniege, SALT by Hendrix, and Moroccanoil. Inside, Yara, Linda Cardellini, and Rachel Bloom sat in plush chairs for hand and neck massages with Caudalie serums. “Oh, this feels so good,” Bloom said as she kicked back. Christina Hendricks and Linda Cardellini both got eye treatments courtesy of ReVive.
As the day wrapped up, the Scandal crew ended the afternoon trying on rag & bone jeans, with Washington and Rhimes advising Lowes on a light denim pair. “You look great,” Washington said, adding that she should try a size down.
“I really love seeing my friends. I love being able to see them,” Washington told us. “Like, I Adore Cynthia [Erivo]. I don't see her enough, but today I got to shop with her, my Scandal girls, and obviously Rashida. It's just nice to see friends and catch up. I saw people I hadn't seen in a long time.”
In addition to their shopping bags (and Mom & Pop popsicles waiting for them at the door), they also lugged out the gift-filled suitcases on the way out, stacked with Rituals and Alora Ambiance products, Foreo’s Luna 3 device, the new Dermaflash Luxe, Rothy's flats, Oribe soaps, Jabra headphones, and much more. Guests were also treated to certificates for LAX’s Private Suite, an ultra-VIP private service at the airport, and a free night stay at The Four Seasons Resort at Napa and The Four Seasons San Francisco.
As they headed out, Washington exclaimed to her group, “Okay, girls! How did we do?” And, surveying the scene, she deemed it a job well done.
And that's all the host Jennifer Klein says she could've asked for. “There’s a feeling in the room at every Day of Indulgence, when I’m looking around and seeing all those women enjoying themselves, it’s incredible. It’s amazing to be able to give them a safe haven to let loose. It’s just good energy." Surely the wait for next year's invite has already begun.