When Thea Spano has time on her hands she papers the walls, literally. There hasn't been much time for that since she opened the boutique called Thea about six months ago. She created the design of the handsome shop with a stunning glass entrance with architect Alexis Levite.

Recently, with the help of fashion consultant Eleni, she invited friends and customers to informal fashion showings at neighboring restaurants Boccacio and Duke Ziebert's to give them an idea of the stylishly conservative clothes she thinks are right for Washington. Among the designs: a draped-front sheer wool dress from Luciano Soprani and a double gold blouse worn with black satin pants by Miguel Cruz.

"The gold blouses were originally shown with a black satin miniskirt, but I thought the black pants were more appropriate for Washington," said Spano, who also includes the designs of Genny, Carolina Herrera and Moschino in the shop. "Washington women are not only conservative about style but conservative about price. They want good value for their money. They watch their budgets," says Spano. (Shoes in the show were mostly from the new shop Le Scarpa, which just happens to be owned by Spano's daughter, Candace Wurz.)

Spano is that rare retailer who wishes her business would slow down: "I need to paper the ladies' room walls."