T H E Artist Agency Celebrates 30 Years in Georgetown

April 9, 2015

Georgetown’s T H E Artist Agency – a group of models and stylists – celebrated its 30th birthday April 1. Well known around the city and beyond, the agency has been used by many in the media, including this newspaper. The models, hairstylists and make-up artists, as well as the wardrobe and set stylists, have helped make several Georgetowner fashion specials more than memorable.

Headed by Lynda Erkiletian, president, and Elizabeth McDavitt-Centenari, director and vice president, the agency offered the following anniversary comments: “On our walk down memory lane, we revisit our humble beginnings in 1985. Propelled by limitless vision, hard work and determination, T H E was born in a 300-square-foot office on P Street, using one phone with call-waiting (and no computers) to book five stylists for a handful of loyal clients. Still in Georgetown 30 years later, we have made our home in an historic building on Potomac Street where we are honored to book the top one percent of talent for an elite clientele on an eco-friendly, paper-free booking system. Inspired by our passion for the industry and the satisfaction of loving what we do, we remain true to our roots while so much continues to change for the better.”

Check out T H E’s new website – THEArtistAgency.com – to peruse, as it noted, its “fresh look, user-friendly interface and the stunning portfolios of our models and stylists.”

M29 Lifestyle at Four Seasons Marks 5th Anniversary

M29 Lifestyle at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C., celebrates five years as one of Georgetown’s shopping destinations for luxurious hidden gems. “As style trends change with each season,” the store says, it “has continued to offer its clients a diverse and unique selection of exquisite clothing, accessories, home décor and gifts featuring creations from more than 20 designers exclusive to the store.”

The store will launch a new exclusive line April 16: Claire Florence for M29 Lifestyle. Pieces include collector’s edition totes, silk and ostrich feather scarves, spring cashmere tees and white crochet dresses, all ranging in price from $170 to $525.

“We are excited to launch an in-house line in collaboration with Claire Florence,” said the store’s retail director, Ron Edwards. “Florence’s designs are fresh, feminine and posh with details and trim that suit our luxury customers.”

Georgetown-based designer Claire Florence has worked directly with Edwards to create custom designs. Florence’s career started in New York, where she consulted for firms like Calvin Klein, Tom Ford and Cotton Incorporated. In 2000, she opened a New York City design studio that was featured in Vogue, Elle, Allure and Marie Claire. Florence’s sculptural pieces, made out of cashmere and detailed with fox and mink fur, have been worn by celebrities including Annick Goutal, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Minnie Driver.

During the anniversary event, M29 Lifestyle will partner with Deborah Sigmund, a longtime friend of the store, donating 10 percent of the proceeds to Innocents at Risk, which is celebrating 10 years of fighting child sex-trafficking around the world.

Shadowstone Lighting Opens in D.C.

One of the largest companies for media, film and entertainment lighting on the East Coast, Shadowstone opened at 953 V St. NE March 27 with a grand opening reception. On hand were company founder Frank Marsico, At-large Council member Vincent Orange and Angie Gates, director of the D.C. Office of Motion Picture and Television Development. The Shadowstone facility houses its showroom and rental department, as well as a brand-new light lab that will be used for product testing, demonstrations and workshops. The New Jersey-based Shadowstone has operated in the District for a number of years. Orange has worked to bring more film-production activity and jobs to the nation’s capital.

Onward Reserve

March 27, 2015

Preppy and dressy casual men’s clothing store Onward Reserve plans to pop up soon at 1063 Wisconsin Ave. NW, the former address of the Pleasure Place, a enduring sex toy boutique (35 years). Founded by T.J. Callaway and Will Watts in 2012, the apparel and home-goods retailer operates with an extensive online selection. Onward Reserve’s list of brands includes Barbour, Peter Millar, Dubarry and Vilebrequin, as well as up-and-comers like Smathers & Branson, Martin Dingman and Tokens & Icons. Headquartered in Atlanta, Onward Reserve has locations in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Four Seasons GM Departs

March 26, 2015

General manager Dirk Burghartz has departed the Four Seasons Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue to run a Four Seasons resort in Dallas. His successor will be David Bernand, who worked at the Four Seasons in Georgetown previously. Bernand will be returning from the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Georgetown Cat Café Kickstarted

Kanchan Singh is looking to open the District’s first cat café, in Georgetown of all places. Singh launched a Kickstarter campaign for the café, called Crumbs and Whiskers, on March 8. By March 9, the page had exceeded its $15,000 goal, with backers and pledges continuing to roll in.

Singh is very excited about the success of the campaign.

“It’s actually blowing my mind,” she said. “This is the best Monday of my life.”

If you pledge $10 or more to their Kickstarter, Crumbs and Whiskers will write your ex’s of (or an other hated being in your life) the name in permanent marker on a litter box. Rewards are based on the amount of money you pledge. Items include post cards, T-shirts, the privilege of naming a cat and a private party.

Writing the name of donor’s ex on a litter box has been the most popular item.

After Zoning and Department of Health qualification requirements are met, campaign supporters will be notified of when to expect their rewards.

Any pledges made will not be charged to the donor’s card if the business is denied zoning approved.
The business in the process of signing a lease with plans to open this summer.

All cats at the café will be available for adoption through the Washington Humane Society. Food, meanwhile, will be prepared off-site and delivered to café. Guests will be expected to make reservations and pay an hourly cover charge.

London’s West End Men’s Fashion Comes to Georgetown

On March 20 and 21, Sterling & Burke, the stylish, upscale leather goods and specialty-gifts store on Pennsylvania Avenue, hosted “Bespoke: Jermyn Street Comes to Washington, D.C.” The trunk show featured London’s West End tailors Benson & Clegg, shirtmakers Budd and shoemakers Foster & Son.

David Bernand Returns to Four Seasons as GM

David Bernand returned to Georgetown this week as general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Seven years ago, Bernand had been the hotel’s manager and, before that, the director of food and beverage. Most recently, the French native was general manager at the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He succeeds Dirk Burghartz, who left for a Four Seasons resort in Las Colinas, outside of Dallas.

“Returning to D.C. is like coming home,” Bernand told the press. “All of the best memories I have with the company are here in Washington. From attending to high-profile clientele to working with loyal staff, each aspect of the operation made a difference in my decision to return to this iconic hotel.”

Bernard is the eighth general manager to lead D.C.’s only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond hotel with its 222 rooms, Seasons Restaurant, Bourbon Steak and M29 Lifestyle store, overseeing 450 employees. He arrives at a time when D.C. is seeing hotels opening or being renovated in time for the 2016 General Election and 2017 Presidential Inauguration – and in time for a $13-million renovation of his hotel’s rooms this summer.

Business Leaders Spotlight Spotluck at Orange Anchor

The Georgetown Business Association met up March 18 at the newly arrived Orange Anchor restaurant at Washington Harbour on the Georgetown waterfront. GBA President Charles Camp welcomed members and guests to the seafood eatery, which was opened by Reese Gardner, founder of Wooden Nickel Bar Company (Copperwood Tavern, Irish Whiskey Public House and Second State), and caters to landlubbers and boaters alike. The purpose of the GBA, Camp stressed, is to help Georgetown businesses succeed. The group heard a quick presentation of a local mobile app, Spotluck, headed by Cherian Thomas and Brad Sayler. The app will soon launch its Georgetown hub to help the community explore where to eat locally. Also, GBA members now can join the City Tavern Club at a discount.

Summer Opening for Watergate Hotel with ‘Mad Men’ Styling

Closed for seven years, the once legendary Watergate Hotel – part of the equally legendary Watergate complex on the Potomac River, next to Georgetown – marked a ceremonial “topping off” of the hotel’s grand ballroom – part of a $125-million renovation – on March 19.

“Once it was the grandest luxury hotel,” said Jacques Cohen, principal of Euro Capital Properties, which is developing and owns the Watergate Hotel. The group intends to bring back the hotel’s mystique with retro styling and luxe appointments, as well as a 12th-floor rooftop bar. Other amenities at the hotel, which will re-open this summer, include a whisky bar, fine dining and casual restaurants and a fitness center and spa.

The grand ballroom, the “hotel’s crown jewel,” according to Rakel Cohen, the director of design and development of Euro Capital Properties, will be called the Moretti Ballroom after the hotel’s designer Luigi Moretti, the Italian architect who created the complex’s contemporary and ground-breaking style in 1961.

The hotel opened in 1965. Completed in 1971, the mixed-use Watergate complex with three residential buildings, two office buildings and a hotel was constructed by Italy-based SGI and developer Giuseppe Cecchi.

The Cohens were joined by Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans and Foggy Bottom advisory neighborhood commissioner William Kennedy Smith, M.D., “Mad Men” costume designer Janie Bryant and hotel managing director Johnny So.