The invitation read, "High Tea."

Yet last Tuesday, 50 perfectly appointed ladies were drinking coffee in a discotheque on a sunny afternoon.

Oh, that Washington Fashion Group.

They got svelte Nouvelle Society designer Carolyne Roehm -- already in town for a lecture series at the Hirshhorn -- to present one of the group's four scholarships, to Marist College senior Kindra Predmore of Rockville. She had a private audience with the designer before the reception began -- the two of them tucked back at the bar at the Four Seasons' Club Desiree, Roehm gracefully paging through Predmore's sketches.

"I remember when I started, I stood there holding pins," said Roehm, her big blue eyes popping wide open. "Then Oscar {de la Renta} started using me for fittings. I did things no one else wanted to do. It's an age-old practice but it works!"

Marci Shapiro, winner of the Elinor Burgess Award, was unable to attend because she's in summer school. But Nina Hyde Scholarship winner Eden Miller and Eleni Epstein Award winner Tuanh Nguyen were there, and after the ceremony, both quietly edged their way through the crowd to introduce themselves to the designer.

Garfinckel's PR maven and newlywed Aniko Gaal cornered Roehm and they gabbed about upcoming New York benefits and the wonders of being married.

As Hecht's fashion director Bonnie Baum waited patiently to say her hello, she turned to former Washington Star fashion editor Eleni Epstein and gushed over Epstein's Cleopatra-knockoff necklace.

"Stand in line!" shot back Epstein. "There are four or five people ahead of you in the will."

And at the Four Seasons.