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How PR Maven Monika Dixon Prepares to Host a Party

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All photos:<a href="http://jamesatkinsphotos.com/"> James Atkins</a>. You can click 'em to enlarge.
All photos: James Atkins. You can click 'em to enlarge.

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At the height of a glamorous awards season, entertaining is on the mind. And to pull off a great event is no easy task. Monika Dixon, one of Chicago's on-the-scene publicists, has been hosting spectacular events for years. After such success with her namesake firm, making stars of clients from Dana Rebecca and Atelier Azza to Wilfred Newman, we've decided to follow her through her pre-party prep routine and get the intel on how she stays so cool under pressure.

Last night while thousands of Americans were predicting the Oscar wins, Monika Dixon was in room 408 at the Public Hotel prepping to make hundreds of lime-light aficionados' nights memorable. The event she was producing in partnership with Glossed + Found was called "Hello Oscar", which was one of the hotly anticipated fashion parties of the evening. And before the Midwest's 'it' Oscar party kicked off, there was a ton of work to be done. With a crew of six setting up in the Lobby Library and a lot of additional help upstairs, this is the process of how Monika builds the style momentum before hosting a party.

Chicago-based duo Morgan Marie are on location regularly to do the staff's makeup application.

While Morgan dusts NARS pigment on Monika's eyelids, Marie tells us a smokey eye with gold and bronze best fits the mood for the night. With a little pearlessence, Monika's skin takes on a glowing look. They finish with a soft pink lip using Morgan Marie brand lipstick and gloss.

Frequent style-setter Alexis Cozzini, owner of Sarca in River North, has been known to stock some of the most current fashion brands available in the city from Nieves Lavi to Obakki. To accessorize Monika's outfit, Alexis has picked the scarab and lotus bracelet and papyrus earrings by Lele Sadoughi. For the rest of the crew, Alexis used statement necklaces from Chicago-based Damen + Division.

And like any good host, Monika makes sure there's a little pre-game action. After all, it helps the crew loosen-up the social screws, making mingling with guests that much easier.

At this point, Monika slips into the bathroom (remember that first photo?) to change into a flouncy mint green Roksanda Ilincic dress with feathers she bought from Racked 38 Member and and purveyor of hard-to-find designer pieces Blake on Chicago Avenue. And with a quick hair flip, bathroom time is done.

A little Louboutin love never hut anyone—especially when it's coming from Oak Street's recently-opened shoegasmic paradise.

And so now the hair, makeup and wardrobe are set, Monika and Haley Robles, part of event production company Lux Mgt, head down to the Lobby Library to make sure everything is set to go. On the tables, Monika has wrangled Sugar Chic Designs to cater the candy bar and sweet-talked the Public's bar manager into making a special celebration-themed punch concoction. After tying paper straws to the necks of mini bottles of Champagne, all that's left to do before the guests arrive is to place the bedazzled 'Best Dressed' awards on the fireplace mantle.

And so we ask Monika how she stays so cool under pressure of producing and keeping everyone involved having a great time. She says, "I read people's reactions and when it seems like everyone else in the room is anxious I try to diffuse the stress. I don't waste energy focusing on the problem, I focus on the solution."
· Six Oscar Parties Where You Won't Find Seth MacFarlane [Racked]
· Monika Dixon Public Relations [Official Site]


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