Michelle Dockery and D'Arcy Carden bonded over trousers, Euphoria stars reunited, and hardworking women were celebrated. 

By Brandi Fowler
Updated Jan 29, 2020 @ 5:15 pm
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In the wake of the tragic passing of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. Sunday, there has been a cloak of heaviness around the country, particularly in Los Angeles, where Kobe played for almost two decades.

But there was a sense of warmth as Zoey Deutch, Lake Bell, Hunter Schafer, and more gathered at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, Calif. for InStyle’s Badass Women Dinner Tuesday evening. There were toasts, there were laughs, there was a celebration of accomplishments and life.

"Because of everything that's happened, I feel really connected to everyone and a huge sense of non-duality, like really seeing myself in other people,” Logan Browning said. “It's a reminder of our mortality, but also that our souls go way beyond this and our legacies go way beyond these moments.”

“It's very warm and cozy, and there’s so many amazing women in here,” Maude Apatow, who wore a delicate pink lace dress, told InStyle right after she walked inside and looked around the room.

Catriona Balfe, who wore a faux leather black belted Rachel Comey dress, echoed those sentiments, saying, “I think it's just amazing when you're in a room full of such accomplished women, and you get to rub off on their genius and their brilliance. It's just really nice to talk to people who are doing incredible things in the industry, really supporting other women, and making sure that we're all getting our voices heard and having a seat at the table.”

That sense of sisterhood was ever-present at the Secret-sponsored dinner, which celebrated the accomplishments of the badass women in the room, like celebrity stylists Samantha McMillen and Elizabeth Stewart, directors Niki Caro and Victoria Mahoney, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, as well as Badass 50 honorees DJ Michelle Pesce and Baby2Baby Co-Founders Kelly Sawyer and Norah Weinstein.

Guests who knew each other reunited, and those who were strangers approached each other and mingled during the cocktail hour.

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D’Arcy Carden and Michelle Dockery hadn’t met before that night, but quickly bonded moments after seeing each other. “We're both even wearing these wide leg trousers,” Carden told us, showing off her brown pair.

“I feel a little masculine,” Dockery, who wore a checked suit by Australian brand Zimmermann, chimed in with a laugh. "I always love wearing trousers. I'm flying the flag for Australians and Laura Brown.”

The Downton Abbey star said she “took a minute to look around the room” when she first arrived, adding, “I saw all of these amazing women. It's going to be a really good night. I can feel it. There's a bit of buzz in the air.” Carden, nodded her head in agreement, adding, “It’s one of those parties where everybody is ready to make new friends. Very welcoming vibe.”

Browning, who strolled inside in a vibrant orange off-the-shoulder Prabal Gurung dress, felt the same, saying, “I'm excited about sitting at the dinner, because I feel like I get to really connect to people I may know, I may not know.”

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Browning soon joined Euphoria stars Hunter Schafer and Sydney Sweeney as they chatted up Apatow with wine and sparkling water in hand. In another corner of the room, Balfe and Dockery shared a laugh, and Deutch gave a big hug to Carden, before locking arms with Stewart, who styled her in a Monse checked suit that night.

“Very often these things feel sterile, and this is the total opposite,” Deutch said with a big smile.”I feel very at home and cozy and fun.”

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Schafer, who told us she felt “powerful” in her black Burberry winged jumper, said she was looking forward to mingling. “I have some friends here and there are other friends I hope to meet,” she said. Meanwhile, Sweeney, who stood next to her in a zipper-embellished black Alexander Wang dress, explained that she feels like a true badass “when I get a call from my mom and she says that [she's] proud.”

As they continued to mix and mingle, we had attendees tell us their secrets. “My secret is I’m a huge fan of the Real Housewives of New Jersey,” Dockery said. “My secret is that I listen to the song 'Goodbye LA' by the Blah Blah Blahs every time I leave LA,” said Schafer.

Soon, it was time for everyone to take their seats at a table topped with pink roses and flickering candlelight.

“All of you are badasses,” InStyle Editor-in-Chief Laura Brown said as she stood up to thank everyone for attending, and for their hard work. “And I don’t just mean ‘oh you’re a badass,’ I mean knowing yourself, doing great work, and being cool with having a drink ... keep on.”

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She went on to introduce Pesce, Sawyer, and Weinstein, who talked about their respective initiatives. “Just throw me your money,” Sawyer said with a laugh, before dishing on the over 70 million items Baby2Baby has distributed to children in need. Pesce, meanwhile, talked about the Every One Initiative she helped launch, which creates safe spaces for festival goers. “Thank you for honoring us and all the female badasses,” Pesce said, before taking her seat.

As dinner was served, guests noshed on salmon, steak frites and french fries, as well as bowls of quinoa and veggies. Elisa Sednaoui Dellal shared her fries with Carden, and Deutch spooned the coconut crème brûlée dessert in between laughs and laidback conversations.

“A toast to Laura!,” Dockery exclaimed as everyone raised their glasses and wrapped up the night with clinks of crystal.

With the start of the week cloaked in heaviness, it seemed like this was exactly what everyone needed — an empowering girls’ night out.