Around Town: The Season Starts

by Editorial

Ann Kenkel was pleased that Home and Design Magazine: The Source Book, has named a bedroom she designed for the Rigby Lott estate in St. Michael’s, Md., as its favorite of the year. Clever Ann has started a “virtual design” Internet service for interiors. Clients send her the details and measurements of their rooms, naming preferred styles, colors, and patterns. Ann then returns a three dimensional view of the rooms she has created, indicating furniture sizes to fit the spaces. Her clients take the views to the furniture, fabric and rug stores to match the items. “Instead of thousands, they are spending only hundreds for custom-designed, workable rooms,” she says. “Times have changed, so I’m using the technologies that are out there.”

Judy Esfandiary and Debbie Sigmund were just in from their respective pieds-à-terre in the south of France. Tandy Dickerson looked striking in a tawny Diane von Furstenberg design just off the drawing boards. Also on hand were Grace Bender, Mary Haft, Gail West, Mary Wilkins, and Jacqueline Boesch, along with ambassadorial wives representing six countries.


Kristin Killion fell in love with Paris where she spent time before her marriage three years ago. (She met her husband, David Killion there.) Ever since, Kristin has dreamed of living once again in the City of Light. Now, in a fine stroke of serendipity, she will. Her husband was just appointed, with the rank of ambassador, to lead the U.S, mission to Paris-based UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.)

Eighty guests rejoiced over her dream-come-true when the Killions were honored at a dinner given by Ray and Shaista Mamood, in the ballroom of the Mahmoods’ Virginia home overlooking the Potomac.

Paris buffs predicted a successful posting for the Killions, especially considering her fluent French and keen appreciation of Gallic culture, to say nothing of David’s qualifications after spending years spent at the Department of State and serving as senior staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Ironically, the legislation he worked on eight years ago authorizing the U.S. re-entry to UNESCO coincidentally made all this possible.) At his confirmation hearing, which, as expected, he easily aced, he mentioned that if he got confirmed he could keep his promise to bring Kristin back to Paris. They listened; they confirmed.

David’s swearing-in was held in the state department’s magnificent Diplomatic Reception Rooms. Appropriately enough, the ceremony took place in the room named for one of the most popular and effective ambassadors the U.S. has ever sent to France: Benjamin Franklin.

Forget your schoolbook image of the Almanac’s benign “Poor Richard. Franklin enjoyed near rock star status with the French. The men appreciated his diplomatic skills, the ladies loved him, and he deeply and truly returned their affections as universally as time and strength permitted.

One surprise guest, dynamic and glamorous Ivonne A-Baki, a popular figure here when she served as Ecuadorian ambassado from 1999 to 2002. She returned to Ecuador as the minister of commerce, and has since been serving as president of the Andean Parliament. Yvonne, always onward and upwardly mobile, is now in the running for the post of director general of UNESCO itself.

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