- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 7, 2006

There was plenty of “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” attitude at the much-anticipated grand opening of The Collection at Chevy Chase Thursday night. You could tell by the chauffeur-driven Town Cars lining up out front; by the high tech honchos strutting past the check-in table, pencil-thin girlfriends firmly in tow; by the way Capitol File magazine founder and promoter extraordinaire Jason Binn commanded photo-ops of Matt Cooper of Valerie Plamegate fame, Rick Rickertsen of leveraged buyout fame, Debra Lee of Black Entertainment Television fame, and supermodel Petra Nemcova of tsunami survival fame.

The point, of course, was to get a thousand or so chi-chi types way uptown — dare I say it, practically to the Beltway — to preview the brand new double-story shopping complex (please don’t call it a “mall”) offering the last word in luxury products from 15 high-end boutiques, including Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Bulgari.

The concept was long overdue, reported Edward Hall Asher, president of Chevy Chase Land Co., the developers of the 112,000-square-foot complex. “All the stores had customer lists of people who came to shop in New York. That’s why they’re here,” Mr. Asher said, noting that once Christian Dior came through, “everyone else followed.”

“This is glitzier than Rodeo Drive” exulted celebrity guest Chris Matthews, of MSNBC fame, as the crowd attacked the bars and buffet stations in a giant tent behind the shops. His wife, Kathleen Matthews, of WJLA fame, had a more sober view of the scene when asked if her daughter would soon be among the young ladies seen exiting with multiple pairs of $450 strappy sandals from Jimmy Choo.

“We shop at T.J. Maxx,” she said with a laugh.

— Kevin Chaffee

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