Autumn in Washington is reminiscent of the world-famous Viennese ball season (encompassing nearly 200 events in its dazzling span); a glittering world dating back to Habsburgian revels at the Hofburg Palace. What with the awe-inspiring number of galas held in her day, Empress Maria Theresa may not have personally attended them all. In fact, we’re fairly certain that the Empress had a crack team of bustling courtiers in silk breeches to write her acceptances and regrets. In modern day Washington, we have Blackberries and helpful compendiums such as WL’s annual Balls & Galas Directory to guide us through the jam-packed fall, winter and spring social seasons. It also helps to know the gala organizers. As in years past, many of the gala chairs have graced the pages of our indispensable guide. Many j thanks to Jean-Marie Fernandez (who was only a size eight at nine months pregnant I when she posed for us – totally unfair!), Mae Haney Grennan, Tina Alster, Ann Nitze, Dina ' Mackney and Susan Ascher for taking time out of their busy planning schedules to model the latest formal wear sure to liven up the region’s dance floors come fall. Stylist Lana Orloff and photographer Clay Blackmore captured the beauty and elegance of these generous ladies.
We all know Champagne is the official beverage of ball season, yet it would be a mistake to neglect other wines lovingly bottled elsewhere: Alsace, Bordeaux, Côtes du Rhône, et. al. So, uncork a dusky 1982 Mouton, because our September issue also happens to be our wine spectacular, featuring the capital’s top sommeliers sharing special bottles that Washington’s A-Listers are storing away for just the right moment; and cases of ridiculously fine 100 point wines along with delectable celebrity chef dish pairings from the ILL-sponsored CharityWorks 100 Point Vintage Wine Tasting. Thank you again to Jean-Marie and Raul Fernandez, who share their thoughts on this special event’s alliance with Center City Consortium. To contributors Roberto Donna, Robert Weidmaier, Eric Zeibold, Jonathan Krinn, Patrick O’Connell, Fabio Trabocchi and Michel Richard, we say you are all welcome to join us at the WL office next time you feel the need to match your craft with top notch wines – we are willing test subjects. A special nod also to Jeffrey Zell, who opened up his extensive wine cellar in Potomac for our sommelier photoshoot – a risky move indeed.
When assembling the perfect wine/food pairing one must always be willing to add a dash of spice. The same applies to assembling the perfect outfit. Whatever you choose to call it – “pieces of flair,” “bling,” or “signature touches” – add these into the mix, and you have a masterpiece. Which is exactly what photographer Tim Coburn, stylist James Cornwell and Howard University instructor Aba Kwawu created in this month’s fashion shoot, “Spice of Life.” WL shows you how to combine fall’s finest ingredients to create a tasteful masterpiece. Plus, whether you’re a town and country mouse or a rocker chic city chick, Krista Bullion’s Trend Report has the season’s hottest looks off the runways from New York to Paris. (Don’t worry guys, we didn’t forget you.)
Fashion might add spice to your wardrobe, but I powerful men have been seasoning certain marriages for years with a hint (and sometimes hefty helpings) of “other women.” Roland Flamini discusses the age-old story of dabbling in salacious side-dishes in his article, “The Mistress Season.”
Rich tastes and textures – this issue has it all. But to cleanse the palate, might we suggest a nice cool glass of our exclusive inside coverage of the Blue Salon, hosted by Swedish Amb. Gunnar Lund and emceed by Nora Maccoby, Mara Haseltine, Richard Marks, Roshanak Ameli-Tehrani and William Haseltine? We also hope you think twice about ordering shrimp after reading Alexandra Cousteau’s contribution on wasteful by-catches.
The horn of plenty certainly was blowing with regard to exclusive events this summer. See a “who’s who” of the Washington social scene in WL’s exclusive coverage of ten gatherings; in particular, check out our extensive coverage of the ILL-sponsored Opera Ball, Freer-Sackler Gala, Washington Performing Arts Society, CharityWorks 100 Point Vintage Wine Dinner and Courage Cup events. In our Night Life section, we take you to the ILL-sponsored opening of nightclub Ibiza and our summer fling at Gazuza. As they say in Vienna, “Alles Walzen (everybody waltz)!”