I. Magnin, a high fashion chain that competes with Sak's Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, is seeking to open stores in the Washington market.

"We want to be in Washington," Magnin president Ross Anderson said in a telephone interview from his office in San Francisco.

Construction of one or more I. Magnin stores in the area is "a real possibility," Anderson said, but "there are all kinds of technical problems."

Anderson said the chain hopes to expand into Washington "as soon as possible," but indicated plans are not yet firm. He described the Washington area as "a market that seems to warrant more than one store."

Magnin's reportedly is considering the White Flint Mall in Rockville and the proposed Tyson's II complex in Virginia as a store sites. The Tyson's Corner expansion has been tied up by zoning and development delays.

Theordore Lerner, head of Lerner Corp. developer of both shopping centers, declined to comment on the reports.

With 23 stores, most of them in California, I. Magnin is "considered the premier high fashion retailer in the western part of the country," Anderson acknowledged The stores specialize in women's clothing, men's wear and home accessories.

The chain is part of Federated Department Stores. Federated also owns Bloomingdale, which already has stores at White Flint and Tyson's Corner.