Style Setters 2013 | Washingtonian
Style Setters 2013

By Kate Bennett

Photographs by Ruedi Hofmann

Hair and Makeup Courtesy of Blend Make-Up Artistry

Gio Gonzalez

27, Pitcher, Washington Nationals

Don’t think that just because he’s a professional athlete Gonzalez is all about casual looks and sportswear—this is a man who likes to dress. “I would describe my style as ‘modern business,’ made up of high-end suits and accessories,” says Gonzalez, who cites Robert Downey Jr. and Jay-Z as two of his fashion icons. As for favorite designers, he rattles off a luxe list that includes Giorgio Armani—whose looks he calls “hip but also really refined”—Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Christian Dior. If Gonzalez could, he’d sport tailored jackets and silk pocket squares day in and day out: “I love to be in style, from head to toe.”

“La Spalla” suit in royal blue, $999, Egyptian-cotton shirt, $99, silk tie, $45, and “World Map” pocket square, $45, all at Suitsupply (2828 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-800-7800).

Vicki Cantrell

55, Senior vice president, National Retail Federation

When you have close to 100 pairs of Tory Burch shoes in your closet—including one named the Vicki and one called the Cantrelle—you know your fashion cred is legit. Cantrell, formerly the COO and CIO of Burch’s label, is modest about her career in the fashion industry, but there’s no doubt her business savvy has influenced her style. Says Cantrell: “I love Giorgio Armani for the best fabrics, John Galliano for magnificence and artistry, and Oscar de la Renta for elegance.” Yet despite a closetful of what she calls “bold” looks, she admits the one piece she never takes off is her wedding ring: “After 27 years, I can’t imagine an outfit without it.”

Gown with beaded cap sleeves by Badgley Mischka, $890, at Neiman Marcus (Mazza Gallerie); crystal-and-gold earrings by Deepa Gurnani, $110, at Charm (2910 M St., NW; 202-298-0420).

Dirk Burghartz

43, General Manager, Four Seasons Hotel

A newcomer to DC, Burghartz has helmed Georgetown’s venerable Four Seasons for just nine months, yet the German-born, James Bond-esque bon vivant is already making waves with his slicked-back hair, expertly tailored suits, and patterned shirts and ties. Burghartz has an affinity for Italian labels such as Brioni, Canali, and Ermenegildo Zegna. “Italian style is subtle, elegant, and classic, yet colorful and fun,” he says. His only desire? More, please: “I’ll covet anyone’s closet as long as it’s double the size of mine.”

“Dickens” tuxedo suit, $1,400, placket evening shirt with double cuffs, $195, woven-silk pocket square, $60, and woven-knot cuff links, $15, all at Thomas Pink (1127 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-223-5390); “Chief Council” dress shoes at Kenneth Cole (Fashion Centre at Pentagon City), $148.

Ian Fay

35, Ringleader of The Lookout

Fay showed up at our photo shoot, made a circular motion around his head and face, and asked: “Should I tame this?” Absolutely not. A big part of Fay’s charm is his baritone Tennessee drawl and his dedication to the local, independent creative scene—the Lookout, his studio and video-industry collective, promotes area filmmakers—but the other part of it is his hair. “I’ve always looked at personal style as a brand,” says Fay, who also helms Saint Gorilla, a video production company. “My brand has a lot to do with suits, being Southern, rock ’n’ roll, and hair.”

Vintage red tuxedo, Fay's own.

Dionna M. Dorsey

33, Graphic designer and creative director

As a child, Dorsey fell in love with two Hollywood style mavens—Audrey Hepburn and Dorothy Dandridge—and the rest is history. “Their confidence made what they wore that much more beautiful and fitting,” says Dorsey, a vintage-loving free spirit who says she can’t live without her unisex American Apparel V-neck tees and her hoop earrings: “I’m an ’80s baby.” When asked to define her look today? “I’m just Dionna.”

Valentina Shah “Kelly” coat, $885 (more information at; “Chloe” pants, $475, at Saks Fifth Avenue (Tysons Galleria); vintage bracelet, $85, vintage rhinestone earrings, $75, and vintage long black-and-white necklace, $125, at Legendary Beast (1520 U St., NW; 202-797-1234); “Wolf” pointed-toe glitter pumps by Yves Saint Laurent at Neiman Marcus (Mazza Gallerie), $665.

Eric N. Schulze

30, Molecular biologist

You have to love a scientist who signs his e-mails “Yours in nerdery.” Add to that his six-foot-six stature, his bespectacled visage, and his fondness for layering prints, lapel pins, and plaid and it’s hard to not be impressed. “I would say my style is controlled playfulness,” says Schulze, who is also cofounder of Thirst, a lecture/lounge experience with a notable list of devotees and regular events around Washington. “I dig the late-’50s, early-’60s NASA-engineer look.” In the fashion field, you don’t hear that very often. Then again, you don’t meet many nerds like Schulze.

Schulze is wearing his own vintage clothes (favorite local sources include Dr. K’s Vintage and Rock It Again); “Owen” leather saddle shoes at Johnston & Murphy, $275.

Jennifer Haber

44, Managing director at Qorvis Communications

When Haber, whose aesthetic screams trendsetter, is asked to name her style icon, she goes with Sarah Jessica Parker. “But as Sarah Jessica Parker, not Carrie Bradshaw”—the actress’s Sex and the City alter ego—says Haber, a mother of two who shops at Bergdorf Goodman as much as she does at Target. “She’s just as challenged in the height department as I am,” Haber says of Parker, “yet she always looks spot-on. Plus I’d kill for her shoe collection.”

Crepe gown with printed satin-chiffon inset by Theia, $995, by special order at Neiman Marcus (Mazza Gallerie); cuff by Aerin Erickson Beamon, $400 at; vintage tassel necklace at Legendary Beast, $85.

Meg Biram

30, lifestyle blogger and media marketing consultant

“Picking one accessory is like picking a child—too hard,” says Biram when asked to select the one item she can’t let go of in her style arsenal. “A leather handbag might be a slight favorite.” Biram’s eye for beautiful things has led to an impressive following on her blog, Meg Biram—The Edit. “I had some preconceived ideas about fashion in DC,” says Biram, who moved here two years ago from Kansas City, Missouri. “But I must say I’ve been impressed.”

Katie Ermilio silk-knit sport tee, $820, and silk-knit evening skirt, $2,225, at; pearl-and-crystal necklace by Aerin Erickson Beamon, $938, at; Beth Lauren “Bango” brass-and-crystal earrings, $88, and “Granite” vintage brass-and-crystal handpiece, $172, at; vintage rhinestone bracelet at Legendary Beast, $195.

Tony Hudgins

46, Executive partner at The Gryphon; business-development executive at Barrister Digital Solutions

Men such as Hudgins are rewriting Washington’s reputation for stuffy style. “I’ll try just about anything as long as it fits well,” says Hudgins, an under-the-radar nightlife entrepreneur who often wears lower-profile labels like Gant, Wrath Arcane, Wings & Horns, Rag & Bone, Comune, and Kai-aakmann. He cites David Beckham as an influence (“His sense of style is so versatile”), and even if his day requires him to wear one of his bespoke suits, Hudgins is never without his pocket key chain: “I can’t let it go.”

Suit jacket, $295, and pants, $150, at Kenneth Cole; wool tie, $125, and pony-hair “Scott” loafer, $495, at Billy Reid (3211 M St., NW; 202-499-6765).

Rosa Rai Djalal

38, Dentist and wife of the Indonesian ambassador to the United States

A study in classic beauty and poise, Djalal has an eye for tailored looks by St. John, Chanel, and Victoria Beckham. On occasion, she likes to stand out among the diplomat set with her traditional Indonesian ensembles—flowing caftans and jewel-tone evening gowns from such designers as Ghea, Denny Wirawan, and Biyan. But for most of her needs—and to satisfy her penchant for Jimmy Choos and Christian Louboutins—Saks Fifth Avenue suits her just fine. What to get when you’re there? “A black pencil skirt. I simply love the way it makes you look slim and sexy.”

“Cecilie” dress by Erdem, $1,360, and suede cutout pumps by Sergio Rossi, $750, at Saks Fifth Avenue (Chevy Chase). Djalal’s own watch and ring.

Posted at 03:30 PM/ET, 09/25/2013 RSS | Permalink | Guides