This year’s YGL party at Arena Stage honored the area’s young movers and shakers.
By WL Staff
What better way to kick off the Holidays than with a glamorous, exclusive soiree at Arena Stage honoring the area’s top movers and shakers under 40? The 700 guests of Washington Life Magazine’s 7th annual Young and the Guest List soiree began pouring through the doors of the Mead Center for American Theater on the Southwest Waterfront just after seven o’clock, ready for some serious networking and raucous revelry which lasted into the wee hours.
YGL guests were decked-out to the nines, in long gowns, cocktail dresses and velvet suit jackets, poised to celebrate in grand style the accomplishments of 250 of their professional peers. This year’s list encompassed a broad swath of the region’s young elites, from the city’s most influential political, policy and entreprenurial leaders, and the equally important style-setters from fashion and the arts. The guest list was an eclectic mix of White House and Capitol Hill policymakers, tech tycoons, small business entrepreneurs, as well as the local stars of media, K Street, U Street and artsy trailblazers.
YGL cover stars Nicole Brenner-Schmitz, Alex Skatell and Britt McHenry were among the noted guests, along with honorees Holly Thomas, Angie Goff, Stephanie Valencia, David John Frenkil and Scott Thuman. See this year’s complete YGL list here.
Washington Life partnered with Juicy Couture, Kate Spade and Cadillac to host the high-energy event. Washington Life Managing Editor Alison McLaughlin modeled a chic Juicy Couture dress, while the magazine’s Editor in Chief Nancy Reynolds Bagley showed off a festive Kate Spade frock. Guests passed through security checkpoints provided by Ivan Thompson’s On Point Security and were greeted with specialty cocktails concocted by event caterer Design Cuisine, and then entered the packed Cadillac Lounge, for passed hors d’oeuvres, steaming cocktails (oh, the miracles of dry ice tablets) and a thumping beat provided by one of the city’s top disc jockeys, Seyhan Duru of CITIES restaurant.
Attendees struck a pose in front of the elaborate step and repeat of sponsors Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Ciroc vodka and Stella Artois, as well as an oversized poster of the Feb. 2012 Young and The Guest List issue. YGL listees were given the opportunity to sign the poster and enter into a contest in which two members would be featured in a future Cadillac webisode. Kate Michael, former Miss DC and K Street Kate blogger, and Win Huffman were featured in this year’s webisode, which can be seen here. Guests also could be found checking out the sleek interiors of the new Cadillac ATS and ATX models.
The genius behind the party planning was Andre Wells, of Events by Andre Wells, who’s nationally known for his immaculate and stand-out events. Wells and team leader Kadrieka Maiden aligned with top-notch caterer Design Cuisine, whose Kent Smith helped to create an upscale and lavish affair with passed hors d’oeuvres and buffet that ranged from mini goat cheese and spinach pizzas to seriously delicious meatloaf cupcakes and scrumptious dessert bites. The dramatic setting of overstuffed couches and draping were elaborately designed and created by Design Foundry’s Annie Senatore and DC Rental, with lighting by Atmosphere Lighting’s Jeff Holt, AV/Sound by VSG Solutions’ Vincent Griggs, and extraordinary floral settings by Jeff Johnson’s Blue Vanda. Valet parking was provided by Michael Jasser’s MJ Valet team.
As attendees entered the multi-tiered, spiraling Mead Center for American Theater at Arena Stage, they were greeted with a table overflowing with sweet treats courtesy of Sugar & Ice, and a chance to pose as Washington Life cover stars themselves on a YGL mock up cover created by Event Digital Photography, who provided a green screen and props such as Santa hats and feather boas to get the guests in a festive mood.
Multiple bars were stocked with creative, holiday-themed cocktails like the “Jingle Bell,” mixed by Design Cuisine.and filled to the gills with luxury libations like African Passion Wines (YGL guests were the first tasters ever of the new line from South Africa Wine Co.), Sean P. Diddy Combs’ Ciroc vodka, Anheuser Busch’s premium Belgian beer Stella Artois, San Pelligrino and Perrier from Nestle Waters, as well as James Pepper 1776 Whiskey created by Amir Peay of Georgetown Trading Co., and local favorite Teavine wine-cocktails, created by DC entrepreneur James Henry.
One of the most raved about elements of the night was the live 10-piece band, Andy Kushner’s Sound Connection. From the stunning vocals to the terrific party vibe, the band knew exactly how to engage with the crowd, leading to a jam-packed dance floor upstairs on the Arena Stage Catwalk. DJ Noel kept the crowd bumping long into the night,. with elaborately-attired models and dancers provided by Tashi Agency, The Washington Ballet and DyStrucxion, who swayed sultry-like to the beat atop raised platforms.
For the seventh year in a row, this year’s VIP swag bags did not disappoint. On the fashion side, included were such extravagances as gumdrop earrings from Kate Spade and The Queen Bee, a Juicy Couture makeup bag, Estee Lauder night cream, hair products from Circe Alexandria and Cibu and stylish votive candles from C Wonder. Nectar Skin Bar offered up free chocolate sunless spray tans, while Circe Alexandria included coupons for $20 off any service.
Other big ticket items included meals out at Nando’s Peri Peri and Del Friscos, and a $50 gift certificate to Bryan Voltaggio’s new RANGE restaurant at Chevy Chase Pavilion. The Washington Area Cadillac Dealers offered up $50 gift cards with a test drive, as well as a Cadillac bottle opener and wine stopper. On the spirited side, there were Ciroc vodka mini bottles and a commemorative Stella Artois velvet-wrapped chalice. On the arts side, Arena Stage offered sneak preview passes to “Metamorphoses” and run of show admission passes to The Washington Winter Show and the National Building Museum.
Be sure to check out our February issue for full photo coverage, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of YGL and the 2013 list of honorees! And don’t miss the Cadillac Webisodes here. You can also read the the Washington Post’s coverage of YGL here.