Where: W Washington D.C. hotel (515 15th St., NW).
When: Thursday, October 8.
Ticket prices: Invitation only.
Who: An eclectic mix of more than 500 guests, including some Hollywood stars, White House staffers, media personalities, and the local socialite set. “I’m excited by my proximity to Mr. Obama,” gushed Phantom of the Opera actress Emmy Rossum about the hotel’s position near the White House. We also spotted Obama’s bodyguard, Reggie Love; MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell; Capitals hockey player Alex Ovechkin; Washington Wizards player Caron Butler; and CNN’s John King, Dana Bash, and Suzanne Malveaux. Singer John Legend played an hourlong set in the ballroom. Sadly, rumors of an appearance by Robert De Niro were false.
Why: Although the hotel, purchased and renovated by Starwood Hotels, had a “soft” opening in July, this was the official debut party, complete with a purple-carpet entryway—a play on both the de rigueur red carpet as well as the hotel brand’s signature color.
Scene: Ridiculous. Modern Marie Antoinette lookalikes and men in powdered wigs mingled with the crowd, rocking out on guitars or dancing on tables. Women dressed with lace veils covering their faces—we’re still not sure who or what they were supposed to represent—circled the party, encouraging dancing and revelry. The crowd packed the hotel’s ballroom for Legend’s performance, which featured a band, dancers, and backup singers.
Fashion: Overall, the crowd won strong points for style—many men sported casual blazers and jeans or opted for figure-flattering suits, while women wore chic cocktail dresses with statement jewels. Actress Rossum donned a tight black, long-sleeved suede sheath dress and matching over-the-knee boots with oversize diamond hoops—stunning but decidedly low-key.
Food and drink: Numerous appetizer trays from Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J&G Steakhouse, located on the first floor of the hotel, circulated through the party. On the menu: miniature chicken samosas, oysters on the half shell, crab fritters, bite-size burgers, and fresh spring rolls. In addition to beer, wine, and Champagne, the hotel offered a host of signature cocktails, including a strawberry lemonade Circoc vodka and an attractive mojito garnished with fresh mint.