While Conde Nast says it doesn't negotiate ad rates, it will negotiate party rates.
"Many times these parties are less expensive than you imagine," said Paul Wilmot, a spokesman for Vogue. "They know we give good parties, and they'll break prices for us."
Vogue co-sponsored a party with Anne Klein by Richard Tyler and Neiman Marcus last month for 1,000 people at the Smash Box in Los Angeles. The party benefited DARE. Afterward, Vogue threw a dinner party at Morton's for 80.
"We're trying to expose designers to young, hip L.A. We hadn't done anything there in a while and it was a catch-up situation," said Wilmot, citing such guests as Ben Stiller, Linda Evangelista, Juliette Lewis, Gianni Versace, Kate Moss and Roseanna Arquette.
"For us, it works because we get publicity out of these parties," added Wilmot.
Hachette Filipacchi will spend several hundred thousand dollars on its AIDS Project Los Angeles gala honoring Isaac Mizrahi.
"Companies have to give something back," said David Pecker, president and chief executive officer of Hachette Filipacci, who noted that the company has been "deeply involved" with DIFFA and AmFAR. "It was a perfect venue for us. I wanted to do something big in Los Angeles and this is our first big event in L.A."
But do these parties help generate business?
"I think business people like to do business with honorable companies," Pecker said. "It's a strong commitment for us, even as a good-will gesture. People do business on the golf course. Throwing a party is a more relaxing environment to present something."
Even the stately New York Times has gotten into the party spirit. In a break from tradition, the Times threw an elaborate gala in November under the Bryant Park tents to celebrate 50 years of fashion coverage in its Sunday magazine, and at the same time, feted Carrie Donovan, who was retiring as the magazine's style editor. Just last week, the magazine threw another party in Paris to welcome Holly Brubach, the new style editor.