Reprinted from yesterday's late edition.
"This is hardly the world's best kept secret," admitted Ross Anderson, I. Magnin's chairman, who Tuesday night announced the San Francisco based specialty store's plans to open a branch in White Flint in August.
If guests weren't surprised by the announcement at a fashion show at the Madison Hotel, a few were by the tightly choreographed presentation of 29 styles ranging from see-through black bathing suits by Charles Jourdan of Paris to Calvin Klein's satin charmeuse blouse, open to the waist and shown with pants.
Roscoe Dellums, wife of Rep. Ronald Dellums (D-Calif.), who can include one Magnin store in his district, dubbed the store's clothes as "conservative but 'in'" until she saw the fashion show.
She admitted afterwards, "That's not the I. Magnin I remember." She still owns the first coat her husband purchased for her at the store, "a Jackie Kennedy coat, which now, 15 years later fits me like a pea jacket."
Designers like Giorgio Armani, Stephen Burrows, Halston, Anne Klein, whose clothes were shown, are represented in other stores here as well. "The difference is," explained Norman Wechsler, president, "when our buyers select clothes they think of the California lifestyle - more casual, freer, very individualistic." Wechsler thinks that lifestyle applies increasingly to Washington.
He also said he has seen many more women in suits here than he expected, and that he expected the store's Washington customers to be more like those in San Francisco than those in Los Angeles.
The show closed without the planned grand finale, a wrap and tie dress which the model never got straightened out.