By Adele Chapin Posted May 24, 2011, 1:54 PM EDT
Washington Life’s sixth annual installment of its “Young and the Guest List” event, toasting 200 people from D.C.’s top under-40 set, drew more than 350 guests to the raw Long View Gallery and took over the adjoining historic Blagden Alley. Partygoers hung out in a Juicy Couture-branded tent and in the unfinished Rogue 24, a restaurant helmed by chef R.J. Cooper, set to open this spring.
According to Washington Life executive editor Michael M. Clements, since this year’s party highlighted innovators in creative fields—particularly in D.C.’s burgeoning restaurant scene, with Georgetown Cupcake founder Sophie LaMontagne, the Indian food truck Fojol Brothers of Merlindia co-founder Peter Korbel, and restaurateur/Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn making the cut—the list sparked the idea of a theme based around the creative arts.
“We wanted our party to be an homage to the continuing evolution of creativity here in Washington, particularly in fashion and art. We try to capture the zeitgeist of the city in that particular year,” Clements said. The event referenced art through the gallery venue, fashion (with Juicy Couture as the title sponsor), and food through the Cooper collaboration, marking the first time the event has teamed with a well-known chef for catering. “It’s not just on the list, we’re carrying the foodie theme all the way through to the event.”
This is the second time the party has had a modern theme; the last was in 2009, when it was held at an unfinished office building in NoMa. The party has previously taken over historical venues like the Washington Club (2010), Dumbarton House (2006), Meridian House (2007), and Halcyon House (2008). André Wells of Events by André Wells once again produced, incorporating four-foot-tall lavender and yellow rose floral arrangements by Amaryllis in the gallery, along with mannequins donning black crinoline ball skirts and Juicy Couture jackets in bright colors. The tent in Blagden Alley had stark white leather couches and a white DJ booth and bar, while the unfinished brick Rogue 24 space was draped in black velvet, with black couches and black pipe and drape sectioning off the restaurant. “In a raw space like this, I love the juxtaposition of rough and raw and elegant,” Wells said. “You don’t have to have to have pole covers when you are in an alley; you want it to be a little rough.”
Since the alley is public space, Wells couldn’t block off the area, instead relying on security posted around it and a red carpet to lead guests from the gallery to the event space at Rogue 24. “It’s really hard to clean up an alley,” he said, noting that the tent construction started that day at 8 a.m. “Doing an event in an alley you have all the elements of the city, businesses being here, traffic, neighbors, and incorporating our sponsors, but we made it all work.”
Cooper’s team provided Washingtonians with a first look at the type of dishes slated for his tasting menu-focused restaurant, setting up grill stations along with a raw bar and truffle bar. Inside the gallery, a band covered Lady Gaga's “Bad Romance” and other hits, but guests crowded outside under the tent to take advantage of the perfect spring weather. And at 11:30 p.m., hosts handed out overflowing Juicy Couture-emblazoned gift bags as guests moved to the after-party at the Mansion Presented by Grey Goose on Q Street.