Where: Italian Embassy
When: 7 PM to midnight (the after-party continued at K Street Lounge)
Ticket price: Standing room $65, VIP tickets (seated) $110, table service beginning at $600
Attire: Runway chic
Who: Style gurus, journalists, designers, nonprofit heads, and other Washington elite came out to socialize and strut their style for needy canines. Former NBA player and US congressman Tom McMillen towered over the crowd. Philippe Cousteau, president and cofounder of Earth Eco International, made a runway appearance, as did Fox 5’s Steve Chenevey and The Hill’s Jackie Kucinich. Washington Examiner gossip columnist Jeff Dufour walked the runway with Jayne Sandman, associate publisher of Capitol File. Stylist Lana Orloff and Paul Wharton, producer of fashion and style segments on Fox 5, also modeled for the benefit. Pamela Brown, general assignment reporter for ABC News, hosted and modeled in the event.
The scene: Forget the red carpet. A green Astroturf carpet, spotted with red fire hydrants, made the entrance easy on guests’ paws (although, aside from modeling dogs, furry friends weren’t allowed). Once inside, guests received an extra piece of jewelry—a colored paw-print bracelet indicating where they could view the fashion show. Past the Italian guards and metal detectors, standing tables and bright orange-pink lights dazzled guests. Table centerpieces included large orchid-lined structures and donation boxes plus cards indicating “Save the Date” for the Washington Humane Society’s next event: the Bark Ball on June 7. Stylish, tan, and young, the crowd networked and mingled across the linoleum floors and at the four full bars and silent-auction table located in opposite corners of the room. Champagne was the drink of choice, and guests sported bold, round-framed glasses, matching ties and handkerchiefs, and plenty of bare shoulders and backs. Grass-green, sunny yellow, and teal hues dominated cocktail dresses and the light sports jackets worn by guests and models. The look that drew the most attention? Anyone carrying a dozing pit-bull/Labrador-mix puppy that passed among guests throughout the evening.
All photos by Liz Gorman.Want to see more photos from Washington events and parties? Click here for Washingtonian.com's photo slideshow page.
Food: Small nibbles from the kitchen at the Italian Embassy. Bites included spicy risotto balls, spinach-and-cheese ravioli with white sauce, and thin slices of beef. One couple emerged with a Corner Bakery sandwich and chips from a back room, and hungry guests immediately asked where it was from. Lemon and gingerbread cookie bites came out after the show, but guests did more sipping of cocktails than snacking on the Italian offerings.
Funniest moment: When Pamela Brown couldn’t get the rowdy party guests to quiet down in an effort to start the fashion show. Some strained to hear the blue-gowned Brown over the loud, chatting audience, but quiet didn’t come until her ten-minute presentation had ended and a vibrant opera singer hushed the crowd to start the models on their runway walk.
Most touching moment: The dogs stole the show. Top male fundraising model Joe Robert III walked the runway with a pup in “ready to wag” leather wear, including a leather face mask. Robert wore a matching jacket. Some pups were so excited about the crowd that they ran their model sideways for pats and attention. Other dogs lay down at the end of the runway or, fearful, had to be dragged offstage. One with a broken leg made a guest appearance at the beginning of the show, an effort by the Humane Society find him a home.
Boldface names: 2 out of 5
Swankiness: 3.5 out of 5
Food and drink: 3 out of 5
Overall exclusivity: 3 out of 5
Total: 12.5 out of 20
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