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ELLE PARTY COVERAGE: JESSICA BIEL DINNER

ELLE TOASTS COVER GIRL JESSICA BIEL
ELLE
NOVEMBER 18, 2011
BY JULIA ALLISON

December ELLE cover girl Jessica Biel glowed Tuesday evening at an intimate Chateau Marmont dinner celebration hosted by ELLE’s Joe Zee and TOD’S Signature collection.

Jessica Biel and Joe Zee at the dinner

“We wanted something different, something more intimate,” said TOD’S Sarika Rastogi of the chic soirée.  “A small sit down dinner.  The Chateau’s just really hip and classic; it’s always a cool vibe. There’s just so much history here!”

“We shot Jess my very first cover of ELLE in June of 2007, so this is a reunion of sorts.  She’s so fun, so cool, so real,” Zee said of the stunning star, dubbed “Hollywood’s Most Beautiful Woman.” For the cover look itself? “We were going for something sexy – but not traditional.  Like Sons of Anarchy [the television drama series about a band of outlaw motorcyclists]. Sexy with an edge.”

“This cover was special because what Joe’s trying to do is shake it up a bit!” grinned an exceptionally charming Biel. “He allowed me to step out of myself and be something else. Instead of just being a model, I got to play a character and tell a story.  I felt like I was creating something. It was rougher, edgier, more raw.”

Biel, clad in a classic gray form-fitting Roland Mouret sheath with her brunette locks swept back into a soft updo, gray metallic nails and a large black & white TOD’S Signature Collection patent clutch, chatted happily with celebs like Jon Hamm and his girlfriend Jennifer Westfelt.

“It’s a good mix of people,” said ELLE creative director Joe Zee.  “Young Hollywood, artists, creative types!”

Guests included Ed Helms, Jessica Joffee, Mindy Kaling, Mamie Gummer, Hallie Steinfeld and incoming TOD’S CEO Marco Giacometti. Lydia Hearst, back to her bright blonde after a brief foray into red, posed with a Tod’s Signature red patent clutch and black & white striped backless vintage maxi dress with strategic cut-outs, while Ed Helms kissed Jessica on the cheek and congratulated her warmly.

Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld, clad in a black laser-cut leather Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony number, patterned blazer and bright red tights, with her hair intricately braided in a fishtail (“I didn’t do it myself,” she laughed. “I wish!”) and flawless skin (it helps to be 14), grinned while describing her dream: “I would love to be on the cover of ELLE one day!”

But all eyes were on the two men Biel brought – her handsome, buzzed cut younger brother Justin (“who IS that guy?” one guest practically drooled) and a certain other Justin, of the Timberlake variety.

While Jess may have told ELLE “a girl doesn’t kiss and tell,” with regard to her dating status with Timberlake, the Social Network actor sat close to his cover girl throughout the dinner, doting on her and, according to The Office star Mindy Kaling, “ate a lot.”

Timberlake and other guests were served a three course dinner, including arugula burrata and olive tapenade crostinis, branzino or strip steak – and a decadent flourless chocolate cake that at least two actresses actually finished!  “I had the cake,” grinned The Office’s Mindy Kaling, clad in a form-fitting navy blue frock from Marni (“I was going to wear a sequined tube top, but changed my mind at the last minute.”) The New York Times bestselling author of “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” “geeked out” to meet Showtime’s Shameless actress Shanola Hampton, who geeked out right back (“I love her!” they both exclaimed about the other).

“Lots of orchids were slaughtered tonight,” joked one guest, admiring the dozens of bouquets lining the outdoor tables in the Chateau’s famed Colonnade.  The lucky guests were also gifted exclusive items from TOD’S Signature Collection – women, leather coin purses and men, credit card holders. Many attendees, happily engrossed in conversation and reluctant to leave, stayed until the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

“This dinner is such a crazy honor,” Biel looked awed. “Just doing the magazine cover was enough!  I never would think this would happen – that these incredible people would take time out of their days for me, to come here to this beautiful place, to the Chateau Marmot, and support me.  It feels unbelievable and I’m so grateful.  But really, just doing the magazine was the reward.”

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