- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2006

It was part summer send-off to the social set, part 15th-anniversary kickoff of a publication they simply couldn’t do without.

Washington Life publisher Vicki Bagley; her daughter Nancy Bagley, the magazine’s editor; and son-in-law Soroush Shehabi, who weighs in as chief executive officer, were feted Wednesday night at the Embassy of Kuwait, and honestly, it would take less time to tell you who wasn’t there than who was.

Anyone wanting to critique the current state of Washington partygoing would have had to hold his tongue in this crowd of 400 political bigwigs, diplomats, media heavyweights, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, fashionistas, socialites and other oh-so-convivial folk.

And who else could have pulled off such a top-notch gathering but Kuwaiti Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah and his wife, Rima (glowing in flirty black lace off-the-shoulder Lanvin)? When they send out those creamy embossed cards, it’s more than an invitation. It’s a social litmus test, and you’d better have made the cut.

OK, we know you want names, so you’ll get names, although in no particular order other than who we saw amid the strolling strings and lavish buffets in the embassy’s courtyard-size Fountain Room: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Gen. Richard Myers, Sen. George Allen (celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary with wife Susan), Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson, former Sen. Fred Thompson, Russian Ambassador Yuri Ushakov and wife Svetlana (in peony pink, commenting, “Everyone’s here for Nancy. She’s so darling and loyal”), Chief of Protocol Donald Ensenat and predecessors Lloyd Hand and Lucky Roosevelt, AOL co-founder Jim Kimsey, ABC’s Kathleen Matthews, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and David Ensor, National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm, CBS’ Rita Braver, Rep. John Dingell and wife Debbie (he on crutches from a second hip replacement), Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn, Janet Langhart Cohen, Ann Jordan, Cafe Milano’s Franco Nuschese and journalists John Dickerson, Andrew Cockburn, Sally Bedell Smith and Christopher Hitchens (whose wife, Carol Blue, was caught sneaking ciggies in the library with other Bad Types.)

We did manage to catch up with Mary Ourisman and, yes, it’s true: The beautiful blonde has been tapped as the next U.S. ambassador to Barbados; she and husband Mandy are both planning to go to diplomat school at the State Department in coming weeks.

Guests were still partying two hours after festivities were scheduled to end, and why not? The Al-Sabahs weren’t dimming the lights, and there was lots to celebrate. The magazine is fat, glossy and going strong despite recent competition.

“We’ve have had a wonderful time celebrating the finer things in life while expanding our fashion, travel, real estate and lifestyle coverage,” Nancy Bagley said as guests viewed a display of magazine covers depicting gala-goers (some dearly departed) going back to 1991. Washington Life, she added, will continue not only to cover the scene, but to make it as well “with even more anniversary celebrations over the coming year.”

Watch those mailboxes.

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