Valentine’s Gifts Straight From the Heart

Here's The Georgetowner's top 10 list for Valentine's Day gifts.

Designer Lela Rose Speaks at Antiques Show

More than 430 attendees were at the Jan. 13 luncheon at American University's Katzen Center.

Star Shops of Georgetown: Mashburn Retail Therapy

Fashion is the Mashburn family business, and it just keeps growing, as evidenced by the brand’s new store in Georgetown. Husband-and-wife team Sid and Ann are behind the operation, and they bring every bit of their background — his in retail, hers in writing for fashion publications — to the new digs at Georgetown Court, with entrances on N Street and Prospect Street, and to their other stores in Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. Sid started young in retail, working at a shop outfitting men and boys in Mississippi, starting at age 15. After college, he says, “I tried to talk my dad into letting me go to design school but he laughed it off.” Sid continued in retail anyway, moving to New York and, ultimately, meeting Ann, a self-proclaimed Yankee and a young editor for Vogue and Glamour magazine. “You know the ‘Devil Wears Prada’?” Sid asks before blurting, “She was the Anne Hathaway character.” Sid jumped from retail to design with a designer job at J. Crew, then a little-known start-up catalog brand operating out of New Jersey, in 1985. He went on to work for some of men’s fashion’s biggest names, designing for Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Lands End. In those positions, Sid says he began to miss the intimacy of dealing with customers. “The DNA of being a retailer is in my blood,” he says. He began to think more about starting his own brand in which he would not only design the apparel, but also tailor the shopping experience to customers wants and needs. “The concept has been a germ in his head since I met him,” Ann says. Sid opened the first Mashburn store in 2007, offering a combination of self-designed-and-produced clothing and curated men’s style classics, in a sun-soaked space on the west side of Atlanta. “The men’s concept was so different and so fresh, and it came as men began really taking time and care with what they wear,” Ann says, adding, “I give Sid a lot of credit for that movement.” Ann’s concept for women came next. “The business wouldn’t be what it is without her, so we thought, ‘Let’s try it,’” Sid recalls. The duo’s five daughters, who Ann left the professional world to raise, also had a say in expanding the family business. “The girls really pushed, telling me ‘You do so much work and you don’t get enough credit,’” Ann says. “Once we did do it, it was so creative and so satisfying. It was fantastic to be able to open a shop and figure out what I wanted to put with it. It’s basically like curating an editorial story.” For Sid and Ann, Mashburn stores are where the rubber hits the road. After designing, manufacturing and curating items for their eponymous outlets, they have to display and sell them. And that’s where customer experience comes in. “We love controlling the environment,” Ann says of the stores, before Sid adds, “When you come in, we love to treat you like you’re walking into our home.” That means bringing in “really exceptional people,” Ann says. “I can put a ping pong table or scented candles or fantastic furniture in our stores,” Ann says, “but the customers’ first contact is with my employees.” Sid describes Mashburn employees as kind and ambitious. “They want to take care of people and they desire the best,” he says. Ann injects, “They need to know about fashion.” Commission isn’t a factor for sales staff at Mashburn, and Sid and Ann say that taking commissions out of the equation is for the best. “There’s no pressure on our staff to sell,” Ann says. “We can give you really great advice, and we’ll do it for nothing.” On the clothing side, Sid and Ann have laid out a fairly simple mission: to dress men and women for every day of the week. Their inventory includes not only the basics, like comfy women’s sweaters and men’s button-down shirts, but also specialty jewelry and a wide collection of men’s dress shoes. “Once you see the mix,” Sid says, “it starts to make sense.” Touching on the brand’s demographics, Ann says, “We’ve got a few little things for everybody.” Also included in every Mashburn store is an open-air tailor shop where customers can watch tailors customize their clothing in real-time. Sid says the tailor shop is “super important” for building a shopping experience. The Georgetown Mashburn shop will enhance that experience further in January. A Dancing Goats Coffee Bar is being built into the store’s extra space — where Neyla Restaurant once stood on N Street — and onto the building’s terrace that looks into the center of Georgetown Court. “We want to make a memory,” Ann reiterates for the duo. “You can buy anything anytime anywhere online, but the edge we have is a sincere effort to make a memorable experience.” [gallery ids="102169,132408" nav="thumbs"]

D.C. Women of Style: Diane Butts

"Why not try to be your very best every day?" asks Butts, creative director for the Voice of America.

Georgetown Holiday

What to Wear, Where to Dine & Where to Shop. Photography by Oriana Layendecker.

D.C. Women of Style

D.C.’s successful women, including Frederique Irwin of Her Corner, prove that style and power can co-exist.

Boutique Saks Jandel to Fold By Year End

Among the regular patrons of the 128-year-old store were Elizabeth Taylor, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Condoleezza Rice.

Lilly Pulitzer Opens in Georgetown Friday

“In 1960-something a twenty-something Lilly Pulitzer opened her first boutique in the Vias off of Worth Avenue in Palm Beach,” the story goes. Soon — this Friday, May 20, in fact — the flowery chain of boutiques is going to paint the town pink with the grand opening of its new D.C. location, right here in Georgetown at 1079 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The celebration for the opening will include drinks, sweets and music — not to mention the iconic Lilly jeep, parked out front for everyone to enjoy. The store invites Georgetown residents and others to stop by to enjoy the festivities, experience the bright, popping colors and shop the latest Lilly styles.

Nancy Reagan: Fashion Icon

America has lost not only a former first lady but also one of its greatest icons of fashion. Nancy Reagan was known for bringing a sense of style to the White House of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s that had not been seen since the days of first lady Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s. Reagan represented glamour, grace and impeccable style. “Nancy never made a fashion faux pas,” said designer Oscar de la Renta. Her signature color was called “Reagan Red,” and it soon became the color choice of the Republican Party. Her preferred designers were Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Adolfo, Carolina Herrera, James Galanos and Arnold Scassi.  She will be buried at the grounds of the Reagan Presidential Library, next to her beloved husband, "Ronnie," as she liked to say. With all her other achievements, her fashion style endures. [gallery ids="102262,128734,128741,128770,128749,128757,128762,128777" nav="thumbs"]

La Dolce Vita

Photography by Angie Myers models Brett McAnney & Gabriella Bianchi at T?H?E Artist Agency Hair & Makeup by Lori Pressman at T?H?E Artist Agency Wardrobe by Chaza Betenjane at T?H?E Artist Agency Production Assistants Haley Sanchez & Lexi Rodencal Location Via Umbria, Georgetown This issue of The Georgetowner celebrates the Italian lifestyle: La Dolce Vita. Perchè adesso (why now)? No special reason needed; Italy looms large in American lives. The history, cultures and fates of our two countries are intertwined, both in hugely important ways and in matters that we take for granted, things that have taken up permanent residence in our hearts, minds and habits. What would opera be without the giant presence of the Italian composers, whose works warm the genre with boisterous energy and passion? What would cineastes do if they weren’t able to argue about Fellini and Antonioni? And where would American dining be without pizza and pasta and — since we’ve become more sophisticated — risotto, agnolotti and crudo (a term, if not a dish, said to have been invented by restaurateur Joe Bastianich)? American history begins in the 17th century; in Italy, they start before Anno Domini and run through Rome — the Republic, the Empire and the center of the Roman Catholic Church — and the Renaissance, the Baroque and all those periods from art history. Columbus was in the employ of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, but he was a citizen of Genoa, and it was a Florentine fellow named Amerigo for whom the New World was named. Centuries later, waves of Italian immigrants brought their innumerable talents, contributing to America’s progress through their own striving. Italians have tread a remarkable path here, becoming Americans without giving up the essential nature of who they are and who their ancestors were. They replicate their communal gatherings and remind us of the presence of the church in their history and lives. And every such occasion is replete with tradition and with the celebration of the familial ties that bind. Here in D.C., Holy Rosary Church, the “national Italian parish,” was established in 1913. Statues of Dante, Michelangelo, Verdi and Marconi adorn the façade of its Casa Italiana, where language classes and cultural programs are held. On April 3, Holy Rosary will host a Festa della Vendemmia wine tasting and a mass in honor of Maria SS. Annunziata, organized by the Society of Fiumendinisi of Messina, Sicily. To stay connected all year round to Italian events (and perhaps learn the language), visit the websites of the Casa Italiana at casaitalianaschool.org, the Istituto Italiana di Cultura at iicwashington.esteri.it/IIC_Washington/it and the Italian Cultural Society of Washington, D.C., at italianculturalsociety.org. [gallery ids="117125,117145,117139,117133" nav="thumbs"]

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