Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine


The Rodeo Drive of the East Coast

The Chevy Chase Land Company has announced plans to open a 109,000- square-foot complex on Wisconsin Ave. in Chevy Chase filled with high-end boutiques retailers such as Tiffany& Co., MaxMara, Cartier, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton. The Collection at Chevy Chase will count Neiman Marcus among its neighbors, and should be open by October. The complex will include approximately 98,000 square feet of luxury retail space, including the existing Clyde's Restaurant, which will have a new outdoor dining area. MaxMara will be opening one of its largest stores here, similar in size to those in New York and Chicago. The newest addition of the chain will also house the first U.S. MaxMara Café, a two-story restaurant comparable to the successful eateries in Japan and Reggio Emilia, Italy. Tiffany & Co and Cartier will relocate from locations just down the road to allow for the expansion of each store. The structure has been designed by the architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK) and aims to provide unique storefronts for each retailer with a 9,000 square foot sculpture garden as the centerpiece.

Fashion Forward

Trunk shows have become the fashion trend du jour in Washington. On February 11 and 12, Gail Percy held a trunk show at her home to showcase clothing from Tarsian & Blinkley, an edgy fusion of Western-style and ancient Afghan handiwork. Founder Sarah Takesh, an innovative Iranian-born American couturier with an M.B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley. The sleek line is made of luxurious silks and cottons, and is hand-beaded, embroidered, crocheted and stitched by native Afghan women. Takesh's bronze, copper, silver, mixed metals and beads emulate traditional Afghan jewelry with a modern twist. In just three short years, she has gained worldwide acclaim for creating high fashion for the socially aware. With a workshop in war-ravaged Kabul, Tarsian and Blinkley has brought high fashion to Afghan women and employs 200 local women who earn nearly double the average salary. In addition, Takesh and her fashions have been featured in Vogue, People and InStyle magazines. For more information on the company or to browse the collections, visit www.tarsian.com.

A month later “Spring into Bling” trunk show was held on March 10 to preview Bling's spring/summer collection of jewelry. Designers Bernadette Butterfield and Tracy Nesbitt offer uniquely designed pieces made from coral; turquoise; freshwater; Keshi and Tahitian pearls; quartz; onyx; chalcedony; and more. Once available only through private showings, Bling's distinctive designs featuring hand-selected stones can now be found in exclusive boutiques in Delray Beach, Florida; Nantucket; Osterville; and in the Tra-Bern design studio in Marblehead, Massachusetts; as well as on its website. For more information on Bling and to view other pieces, visit www.blingbytrabern.com.

The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Violent Life

One of the hottest new biographies is the result of the detective work of celebrated author Tom Reiss. Reiss has written about politics and culture for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, among others. His newest book,“The Orientalist,” recounts the life of Lev Nussimbaum, a Jew from Baku, Azerbaijan, who transformed himself into a Muslim prince and became a best-selling author under pseudonyms in Nazi Germany. Touted as part history, part cultural biography and part literary mystery,“The Orientalist” has received rave reviews, hailed as mesmerizing, poignant and thrilling. With what began as a year-long investigation for The New Yorker, Reiss pursued Nussimbaum's story across ten countries and found himself caught up in encounters as dramatic and surreal, and sometimes as heartbreaking, as his subject's life. Reiss spent five years looking through secret police records, love letters, diaries, and deathbed notebooks. As he investigated the many cultures and disguises in Nussimbaum's life, Reiss encountered a series of shadowy worlds, including European pan-Islamists, nihilist assassins, anti-Nazi book smugglers, Baku oil barons and Jewish Orientalists. Reiss's account and analysis of the life of Nussimbaum has resulted in a captivating tale.


Oscar visits the Freer and Sackler

Filmmaker Ross Kauffman and Lina Srivastava, executive director of Kids with Cameras, were at the Freer Gallery of Art on February 16 to introduce and discuss their Academy award-winning documentary, “Born into Brothels.” The film features eight children, ages 10-14, born to prostitutes in Calcutta's red light district, all of whom participated in the Kids with Cameras program. In the face of abject poverty, abuse, and despair, these kids have little possibility of escaping their mothers' fate or finding another life. Kauffman, the film's co-director, and photographer and co-director Zana Briski gave them cameras and taught them photography, and the remarkable and resilient children documented their lives. The documentary recently won an Oscar for the best documentary feature, prevailing over box office hits such as “Super Size Me,” and “Tupac: Resurrection.”“Born into Brothels” has won 27 awards so far, including the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award, Best Documentary at the National Boar of Review and the LA Film Critics Awards. As the film travels internationally to various film festivals, the goal is to raise funds and awareness to benefit the education of Calcutta's children born to prostitutes. Kids with Cameras helps children growing up in difficult circumstances to learn photographic skills and appreciate the beauty and dignity of their own expression. The organization sends top photographers to various communities around the world to lead workshops.o highlight their everyday struggles. The film will air on PBS and should not be missed.


Hillwood Museum & Gardens

Now that Spring is officially here, it is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the warmer weather and Hillwood Museum and Gardens offer a spectacular setting to do so. A perfect start is lunch at Hillwood's Café, where award-winning chef Duane Keller of Potowmack Landing restaurant recently updated the menu to complement Hillwood's European charm. Be sure to order the Café's traditional afternoon tea, which includes a selection of sandwiches, freshly baked scones, fruit and gourmet cookies with Devonshire cream. Hillwood was once the Washington residence of the late cereal heiress and art collector Marjorie Merriweather Post from 1955 to 1973. Features include magnificent formal gardens, including a Japanese-style garden and a French parterre, and a comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art and a collection of eighteenth- century French decorative arts.

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