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Chanel teams up with Natural Resources Defense Council for Malibu benefit

June 6, 2011 | 12:46 pm

When the welcome is Owen Wilson, Laird Hamilton, Gabrielle Reece and 200-plus more paddlers and surfers forming a human peace sign in the ocean off the coast of Malibu, you know the party is going to be good.

So began the benefit dinner for the Natural Resources Defense Council's Ocean Initiative on Saturday at the Charles Gwathmey-designed home of Ron and Kelly Meyer, sponsored by Chanel's J12 line of watches. Not only was the sight inspirational, it's apparently on its way to becoming a new Guinness world record.

A who's who of Hollywood (Brian Grazer, Jim Berkus), music (Barbra Streisand, Kenny G) and fashion (Monique Lhuillier, Rachel Zoe) gathered for cocktails in the backyard, kicking off their Louboutins in the grass, sipping fruity drinks and soaking in the last few rays of afternoon sun while listening to a performance by Jason Mraz.

Drew Barrymore, Kate Hudson, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ali Larter and Diane Lane were all dressed in their beach chic finery, but my favorite look was music exec Lou Adler's -- a nautical striped cardigan, knit cap and white canvas sneakers that were very Coco Chanel in the South of France, come to think of it.  

After cocktails, the crowd moved to the tennis court for a vegetarian dinner by chef Suzanne Goin. And there was more live music! Jeff Bridges and T Bone Burnett played a set. "After my dad [Lloyd] got 'Sea Hunt' he said, 'Do you want a pool or a beach house?' " Bridges told the crowd. "We said beach house." Musing on the theme of ocean conservation, he recalled taking walks with his mom on the Malibu beach, where they would see starfish on the rocks. Then one day the starfish were gone.

The event raised $2.66 million for the cause, according to NRDC President Frances Beinecke. "The paddle-out was an amazing way to experience the inspiration of the oceans tonight," she said, adding, "We have hurt them again and again -- 90% of our ocean fish are gone, and the pollution that causes climate change is turning the ocean more acidic every day." 

The NRDC is now ramping up efforts to protect "the world's last wild ocean, the Arctic, where melting sea ice will soon open up the region to mining and drilling," she said.

-- Booth Moore


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Photos: From left, Ali Larter, Angela Lindvall, Amber Valletta and Drew Barrymore attend Chanel's benefit dinner for the Natural Resources Defense Council's Ocean Initiative at the home of Ron & Kelly Meyer on Saturday in Malibu. Credit: David Livingston / Getty Images