Wednesday’s glittering dinner at the home of new Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero was one of those classic win-win-win nights: Lots of promotion served in an elegant setting by one of Washington’s A-list diplomats.
Embassies are the most sought-after venues to throw a D.C. party, but you need connections: In 2010, Elle magazine teamed up with luxury brand Louis Vuitton for its first “Women in D.C. Power List” event held at the French embassy. For Wednesday’s dinner, the magazine partnered with Armani, which landed them a spot at Villa Firenze, the Italian residence. See how it’s done?
“The ten honorees tonight are spectacular women of Washington life, and we have Armani involved with this, which is a very important name in Italian fashion,” Bisogniero told us. Only in D.C. six weeks, he hit the ground running by hosting a huge dinner for the Italian prime minister just 48 hours after arriving — and several more since then.
Washington, he said, is unlike any other posting. “I don’t think you can do your ambassadorial job only in the traditional way. You need to be much more open, more flexible, culturally ready to reach out. It’s a more complex way of doing your job — more demanding on you and your wife — but frankly, it’s fascinating and we’re having a lot of fun.”
Like all magazine lists, Elle targeted 10 already well-known, high-profile Washington power brokers: Christiane Amanpour, Juleanna Glover, Jennifer Hing, Sheila Johnson, Norah O’Donnell, Heather Podesta, Susan Rice, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Julianna Smoot and Hilda Solis.
“We have six million readers, and these are women they should know about,” said Elle’s editor-in-chief, Robbie Myers. “We’re interested in the way power works when women have it, how they got it and how they feel about it.”
The honorees all got a glam photo spread in the latest issue of the magazine, and fancy dinner with speeches lauding their many accomplishments. (Seven of the honorees made it to the celebration; Amanpour, O’Donnell and Rice were away working.) “This is a remarkable coterie of women,” Glover told us. “I’m lucky to be hanging on by my fingernails.”
The Elle and Armani folks got the VIP treatment, too: A private White House tour, a meeting with presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett and lunch in the Senate mess. “Today was my special princess day,” said Roberta Armani (the gorgeous niece and brand ambassador of designer Giorgio Armani ) who flew from Milan for the event.
After dinner prepared by Cafe Milano, the 100 guests lingered on the embassy’s patio for after-dinner drinks and dessert, then everyone left with a goodie bag containing (what else?) a copy of Elle and Armani makeup and chocolates.
Photo Gallery: D.C.’s most powerful women, 3/27/12