Where: Italian Embassy.
When: Saturday, March 28.
Ticket price: $75 for general admission. For double the price, VIP guests were treated to seating along the runway, gift bags, and an invitation to an after-party at L2 in Georgetown.
Attire: “Alta moda,” or high fashion. Bright colors popped on guests who channeled spring despite the unusually cold and drippy night.
Who: Twelve hundred of Washington’s fashion-forward animal lovers and their four-legged friends. Italian ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta and his wife, Lila, hosted the event. Honorary chairs Val Kilmer, Animal Planet’s Victoria Stilwell, NBC’s Luke Russert, and DC councilmember Jack Evans were billed for the event but only the latter two actually showed. Blogger and Web-based talk-show host Pamela Sorensen emceed the event.
All photographs by Chris Leaman
Scene: Guests filled the large ballroom and flanked the runway. After more than an hour of socializing, snacking, and snuggling five of the Humane Society’s most eligible pups (donning orange “Adopt Me!” vests), the lights dimmed, music blared, and the show kicked off. After Sorenson welcomed the chatty and vibrant crowd, more than 50 models, who had each committed to raising $3,000 for the event, sashayed down the runway in designs by Nicole Miller, Betsey Johnson, Lacoste, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Many models were escorted by their dogs, who were equally well dressed, groomed, and accessorized. A VIP room designed by Luxe Studios provided a lush Fendi-outfitted lounge for guests to unwind in. An adjoining outdoor tent played host to the event’s post-show dance party, where pop-rock cover band the Frustrations jammed until 1 AM.
Food and drink: Multiple bars stationed throughout the lobby and in the outdoor tent made for short drink lines. A spread of Hello Cupcake’s signature miniature desserts quickly disappeared, and guests snacked on fruit and cheese—delicious, but devoid of the Italian Embassy’s usual culinary prowess. VIP guests enjoyed Champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts throughout the show. And of course, there was a table full of gourmet treats for the dogs.
In the gift bags: A card for $1,000 off a Cartier purchase of $5,000 or more, Shiseido lip gloss, gourmet tea, lotion, Luna bars, a bottle of SmartWater, dog treats, and a slew of gift cards. Guests grabbed pink-and-blue outfits printed with “I shop at Tysons Galleria” for their dogs, compliments of the event’s fashion partner, Tysons Galleria.
Ratings (see our ratings explanation here):
Boldface names: 2.5 out of 5.
Swankiness: 4 out of 5.
Food and drink: 2 out of 5.
Overall exclusivity: 3.5 out of 5.
Total: 12 out of 20.