A bargain-shopping boom—plus DC’s downtown renewal plus suburban urbanization—has detonated a retail explosion in Washington, capped by Whole Foods’ recent announcement of a 70,000-square-foot Tysons location, to open in 2018. Here’s a snapshot of the phenomenon in four chains’ expansion since 2010.
On the heels of New York Fashion Week, the District is ramping up for its own collection of shows, parties, and pop-up sales. Opening night takes place at 823 H Street, Northeast, on Wednesday, February 18, from 6 to 9 PM, and features pop-up retail shops and a show by the next generation of up-and-coming fashion designers.
On Thursday from 6 to 10, the organizers gather the District’s fashion industry leaders at Dirty Martini for networking and a jewelry and accessories show, and admission for both is free. The shows continue on Friday at 8 at the District Architecture Center with the ticketed Haute and Modesty Designers show featuring Queen Amina Designs, Indonesian designer Zaskia Sungkar, and more.
The Metropolitan Emerging Designers and Indie Artists Showcase will take place at the Washington Post Conference Center on Saturday. Doors open at 6 and the ticketed show begins at 7, featuring B.Benton by Brittany, which just launched in DC at the beginning of last month, plus Kecmenda Designs, Quintessential Couture, Sharon Brown, SJB Millinery, Maryland-based Makason, and ItsyBitsy Swim.
DC Fashion Week closes on Sunday with a ticketed show by International Designers at Carnegie Library, with doors opening at 5 and the fashion show starting at 6. Designers include BoDeni Official Neckwear, Irena Levkovych, Firefly Designs Africa * Asia, Jamaica-inspired Ites International, Maryland-based Leighel Desiree, Svelte Couture, Sera Vero Nik, and DC Fashion Week sponsor Corjor International.
Tickets and more information can be found at the DC Fashion Week website.
Kate Spade New York's chief creative officer, Deborah Lloyd, has quite the impressive résumé. The British-born force behind one of fashion's biggest labels hails from Banana Republic, where she led their design and brand development teams, and, before that, Burberry, where she's been credited with relaunching the women's London collection and received several awards along the way. Since joining the Kate Spade team in November 2007, Lloyd has expanded the brand into a full-fledged lifestyle label while simultaneously overseeing the Kate Spade Saturday and Jack Spade brands. In town to discuss DC fashion and to formally debut Kate Spade's fall collection at Nordstrom in Tysons Corner, Lloyd arrived with Kate Spade New York's brand stylist, Brad Goreski (of The Rachel Zoe Project fame) in tow. The duo touched down for less than 24 hours to meet with press and show off the new collection. We got right down to it and asked them our burning questions about the partnership and their thoughts on DC fashion.
When did you start styling for Kate Spade?
Brad Goreski: I think it was three years ago. I had the opportunity to work with Deborah on the ready-to-wear presentation that we showed to press at the New York showroom, and we just clicked. And the brand for me just makes sense because it’s so in tune with many things I believe in: whimsy, color, fashion. I love the Kate Spade girl, too, everything that she stands for—her philosophy on life and fashion.
So in your own words, Deborah, who would that girl be?
Deborah Lloyd: I always say the Kate Spade girl is quick, curious, playful, and strong. And it’s really not about an age, it’s about the state of mind she has. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. She loves fashion but doesn’t let it dictate her. She wears it the way she wants to wear it, she likes to wear pieces that make her stand out, and she’s very comfortable being herself.
And she definitely does stand out. Kate Spade has always loved color and is never afraid to mix and match. Where does the inspiration come from?
DL: It comes from all over, and every year we have one big idea. This year, it’s the year of places to go and places to see. The collection is inspired by areas I’ve either traveled to or that one day I want to visit. The September collection was inspired by Shanghai, and I did spend quite a bit of time in the far east. (Hence, the month before was Tokyo.) But in the Shanghai-inspired collection you’ve got the beautiful Chinese reds, the fans, the take-away box. I'm inspired by everything I see when I travel—the local marketplace or just wandering around alone. There's a beautiful place called the Bund, a waterfront area in central Shanghai that was full of gorgeous Art Deco hotels, so there's sort of an Art Deco influence to some of the jewelry and other pieces you'll see.
Is there an all-time favorite place you’ve been?
DL: Oh, I have so many it’s hard to choose. My husband took me on a surprise trip to Alaska once. I love the open spaces there, but it’s hard to choose because everywhere I go you try and look for something interesting. I just came back from Paris, which I have to say is my favorite city.
How does your role play into the brand, Brad?
BG: I style the ad campaigns.
DL: He styles everything! Including me! Every girl needs a little help.
BG: Ha! Well, I come in after the design process, when it’s all together. I’m a big part of the editing process—taking everything that’s been created for each season or delivery and pulling together, with Deborah’s help and a few other people, of trying to really create what the story is going to be. To fine tune it. Because they have the overall ideas and the theme, and I come in not really knowing much, and we just go through and say, "Yes, yes, no, no!"
DL: We’re doing this next week for the summer collection. We’re constantly working together whether it’s the fashion show presentation a month ago, so there’s a continuity there.
It’s obviously working, because the partnership has continued through several seasons.
DL: It is! You know, the first time Brad styled, that was it for me. It was like, "Oh, wow! He can finish my sentences for me." So he takes it to a place I don't see on my own. When you’re designing a collection you get so down in the weeds, so involved in it, that it’s really nice with Brad because he steps away and makes me look at it with different eyes. He makes it look exciting and turns it into reality, as well, because I can get stuck in my own little designer world imagining that people are going to wear it one way and then he comes in and says, "Wake up—she’s really going to wear these types of shoes," and "Look at it this way." It’s been a really wonderful collaboration.
So while you're in town and walking around observing fashion on the streets, do you think of specific items from the collection that would do well in DC, above some of the others?
DL: The coats. A good statement coat, because we know it’s going to get cold, and we have to brave the winter in style.
BG: I think this season there’s so many great hats in the collection, from fedoras to beanies to the little caps. They're a nice way to put a personal spin to your outerwear—and your inner-wear!
What are your thoughts on DC fashion?
BG: Am I going to get in trouble for saying this?
No! We want honest opinions here, good or bad.
BG: Well, it's not bad, but when I think of DC fashion I just think of the First Lady. Michelle Obama. Her, or Olivia Pope.
Do you watch the DC-set TV shows like Scandal and House of Cards?
DL: Yes, absolutely. But actually today, just walking through the malls I’ve been to, I’ve seen many women very dressed up for the day—moreso than I see in New York, even.
If you could dress the First Lady, what would you put her in?
DL: I think she’d look kind of wonderful in our fluffy dress with the bow in the back.
BG: Oh that’s a good one! Very chic. I like the idea of a circle skirt on her too, with a very simple top.
How would you describe your own personal style?
BG: I used to describe it as geek-chic with a little bit of showgirl. I try really hard, and Deborah has seen me do this, of pairing down my look, but I just can’t help it. I have on these blinged-out Louis Leeman sneakers right now that I was worried would set off security on my flight over here this morning. It was a big struggle to take off the sparkle when I was getting ready. So I left it on!
And for you, Deborah?
DL: I think it’s always been polished. Like Brad, I try to dress it down a bit, but it’s still done in quite a chic way. I can’t completely dress down, but I like simple shapes with some really good jewelry.
Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.
In terms of Washington workwear inspiration, there are few better role models than fictional power dresser Olivia Pope of ABC's Scandal. Apparently the Limited agrees: The brand's show-inspired collection hit stores this week, just in time for tonight's fourth season premiere. Costume designer Lyn Paolo and actress Kerry Washington collaborated with the Limited to create the line, based on the designs for some of Olivia's iconic pieces—which means all those covetable tie-neck blouses, elegant trousers, wrap coats, double-breasted ivory jackets, and pastels can finally be yours. Best part: The (mostly) budget-friendly line starts at $49.50. Keep reading to see some of our favorites from the line, and pick up Washingtonian's October issue (on newsstands now!) for even more Olivia-inspired ensembles.
For more fashion news and tips, follow Shop Around on Twitter at @shoparoundblog.
Nine West’s fall 2014 accessories collection designed by InStyle editors is officially in stores Friday. The partnership, which is on its third season, includes seven new footwear styles and on-trend bags and jewelry ranging from $79-$139 for shoes and $40-$229 for jewelry and handbags. To fête the fall line, InStyle Accessories Director Leah Karp hosted an intimate party at Nine West’s Wisconsin Avenue location Thursday evening, and guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and Champagne while having first chance to shop the collection.
Here, Karp sounds off on the collaboration.
If you could only pick one shoe from the fall collection that best represented the “Woman of Washington,” which one would it be and why?
My favorite shoe for the Washington woman would be the “Cate” style. It’s the most walkable heel height and the ankle strap is wide enough that it doesn’t cut you, rather it holds your foot in. It also comes in such a wide range of colors so there’s really something for everyone. The suede is super comfortable and the material is also made to give more and stretch but there’s also everything from black camo to black leather to every color of jewel tone too.
Walk us through what it takes to create an accessories collection with Nine West.
I come in to Nine West at the start of the season with a trend book of all the things that I’ve sort of collected. I pull from everything—whether it's retro photos from the runway or things I see on the street. I pull basically from the trends of what I’m seeing for the next season and I will come in with a book filled with tear sheets, images, pictures from the runways, and then I’ll have a color story board, fabrics, and it’ll develop from there. Nine West is really great about creating the hardware for me. In past seasons I brought in a vintage necklace and we made it into the ankle strap of a shoe and it came out exact.”
What fall trends really stuck out to you?
Suede, rich textures, and jewel tones were really big for the fall. Green was definitely a dominate color this season. It’s such a neutral and people don’t realize it goes with black and brown and all other colors, too. It’s so wearable.
What would be your pick for “most stylish shoe?”
The “Elia” in leopard, for sure.
And most “wearable?” (a.k.a. something that’ll leave us blister free after hours on our feet?)
The “Cate” and the “Jaiden,” which is a mid-heel height.
What’s your personal favorite footwear silhouette to wear?
My favorite style is a pointy single-sole pump. That’s kind of my signature shoe; it looks good with everything.
Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.
Be a fashion insider and attend Washingtonian’s first annual sample sale with all the chicest bells and whistles—from nibbles and drinks to a braid bar, men’s emporium, a posh lounge, and boutiques and stores galore. Shop the incredible 25 to 75 percent markdowns from more than 20 stores such as Wink, South Moon Under, Dash's of Old Town, Julia Farr, Ella Rue, and more! See below for more details.
Date: August 20
Time: VIP 6 to 7 PM; General Admission 7 to 9 PM
Where: Long View Gallery
Tickets are now available and can be purchased here.
If you would like to become an exhibitor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.
DC-based menswear label Hugh & Crye launched in 2009 with a simple objective: to create dress shirts carefully tailored to an individual using a 12-size matrix. This unique sizing system, which was developed by founders Pranav Vora and Philip Soriano, has proven successful, and the duo has since expanded to include blazers, ties, pocket squares, and more. And now, they want to add the perfect T-shirt to the mix.
Through a Kickstarter campaign, which launched Tuesday, the brand is raising funds to produce a T-shirt following the same sizing strategy. And at just $20, they're as economically conscious as the rest of the brand’s gear. So far, the campaign has upward of 150 backers who have contributed more than $8,000 to the $30,000 goal; the deadline to donate is September 4.
Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.
It’s no secret that the Obamas have a longstanding relationship with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. With two magazine covers dedicated to the First Lady and glitzy, Wintour-hosted political fundraisers all over the world, the iconic EIC and creative director of Condé Nast has more than proven her allegiance to Barack Obama’s White House.
Roles reversed Monday when the First Lady made a trip to New York to place Wintour in the spotlight. Right on the heels of one of DC’s most fashion-packed yearly events—the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (to which FLOTUS donned a stunning one-sleeve Marchesa gown)—Michelle Obama made an appearance at the opening of the Anna Wintour Costume Center at Manhattan's Metroplitan Museum of Art, just hours before the museum kicks off its infamous annual gala.
“I’m so impressed by Anna’s contributions not just to fashion but to this great museum,” said Obama, dressed in a printed Naeem Khan dress and addressing a star-studded crowd featuring such fashion A-listers as Grace Coddington, Donatella Versace, Franca Sozzani, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
After cutting the ribbion inaugurate the museum’s new $40 million wing, Obama went on to describe a student-focused “fashion workshop” she plans to organize with Wintour at the White House—a step in the right direction for DC’s growing rep as a fashion capital: “The idea [behind the workshop] is to show young people what it takes to succeed and how important it is for them to commit to their education. Anna understands that those of us who have been blessed with opportunities to succeed have an obligation to reach back and bring others along with us, and not just with words and praise but with meaningful sustained support.”
For better or worse, designer Alexander Wang is notorious for nailing the art of surprise. His presence at fashion-packed Coachella this weekend was no exception: Attendees received invites to a party he was hosting, without any clear indication of the cause for the celebration—but as soon as the words “Alexander Wang x H&M” were projected onto the walls of the Indio Performing Arts Center, the reason became clear. H&M confirmed the news a day later: The beloved designer is creating a fall collection for the wallet-friendly retailer.
Cue our uncontrollable excitement for what could be among the best of the (arguably overdone) retailer-designer partnerships: Wang, whom H&M creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch calls “one of the most important voices in fashion today,” is poised to bring a coveted edginess to fast fashion that is so often missing at the young-professional-friendly price tag. The label’s high-end aesthetic, channeled through sleek silhouettes and a neutral palette, exhibits the type of stylish minimalism that looks equally at home in the office as on a night out on 14th Street: Think white button-down blouses, knee-length skirts, and structured jackets, all with such trendy upgrades as perforation and asymmetric cuts. Less girly prep; more sophisticated edge.
The collection hits stores November 6—and lucky for us, DC’s three new H&M locations (in Chevy Chase, Georgetown, and soon downtown) will make shopping the line much easier than collections past. We’ll update with more details about the partnership as they’re revealed.
We couldn’t help but let out a little excited squeal when we spotted this photo on Tysons Galleria’s Facebook page this week, effectively announcing the pending arrival of a new Prada boutique. (Could it be the influence of one Olivia Pope?) And just a week before that, the center posted a similar shot spotlighting the signage for a new Saint Laurent. These openings signal a big coup for Tysons, and for the city: Each store will be the first of its kind to open in the Washington area. No details yet—save a projected opening timeframe of spring ’14—but stay tuned!
In other shopping news, this week Washington Business Journal reported word of a permit for construction of a Kate Spade New York store at the downtown City Center development. Kate Spade (which also is opening a new location in Tysons Galleria, to add to stores in Georgetown and Pentagon City) joins Tumi, which was the center’s first confirmed retailer. And while there’s still nothing more concrete than hopeful buzz regarding rumored Uniqlo and Topshop stores, we’ve got our fingers crossed that these soon-to-open fashion faves will mean more stylish stores to follow.