- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2005

Out with the old, in with the new. The Park Hyatt closes its doors temporarily for an expensive remodeling job, and Capitol File magazine makes its debut (sort of). Reason enough for Tuesday’s reception at the hotel’s Melrose restaurant, right?

Combining the two made sense to the hotel’s loyal customers, who also happen to be the kind of upscale diners and advertisers the magazine aims to attract when it comes to town in mid-September. That explained the presence of Melrose chef Brian McBride hawking a preview of future culinary attractions, though the restaurant’s name — like longtime Melrose pianist James Jelasic — will be gone when the hotel reopens next spring.

But what explains the rumor that actress Ashley Judd will grace the cover of the premiere issue of Capitol File? Apparently, celebrity culture has no boundaries when it comes to promoting a luxury lifestyle.

Editor in Chief Kate Gibbs was mum, saying only that her publication “is a chance to recognize that we [in Washington] are smart and sexy” while ignoring the fact that at least two other startup publications are tackling the Washington market with a similar premise.

“It’s a really different city than it was 10 years ago,” Miss Gibbs enthused. “D.C. is the fifth-largest luxury market in the U.S. We are for people who embody luxury even if they can’t afford it.”

Meanwhile, Raymond Ritchey, executive vice president of Boston Properties, the firm that developed the Park Hyatt, came by “to reminisce.” Lawyer Wendelin White was there “to drink and be cool.” Georgetown boutique owner Keith Lipert, a board member at the National Retail Federation, was on hand to lend support in the belief that the magazine represented his kind of customer. “For my store, this would be a happy home,” he said.

A hot market also met hot fashion on this hot night. Washington hairstylist Isabelle Goetz and New York University student Jane DuBiel both turned up in knee-high spike-heeled cowboy boots that reeked of European chic. “You have to sacrifice if you love fashion,” said Miss DuBiel, 22, of her “hot” leather shoes.

Ann Geracimos

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