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New Mag Launches in Style

Last night at the so-trendy-it’s-not-even-open-yet Oya Restaurant near the MCI Center, hundreds of D.C.’s best-dressed welcomed the first of the three new regional lifestyle magazines launching this year in Washington. D.C. Style (For You…Your Home…Your Life) is the brainchild of Dana Spain-Smith, a savvy businesswoman who turned around the struggling Philadelphia Style and made it into one of the hottest destinations in the City of Brotherly Love.

At last night’s party waiters in orange shirts circulated Grey Goose cocktails and small bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne (complete with straws!) as well as elaborate food and delectable desserts. No expense was spared. A light truck outside beckoned party-goers to the velvet rope line; Style flew in a six-foot-tall blond bombshell from Miami to D.J.; and Style chocolate bars decorated the hostess table. The whole she-bang was, in our opinion and those of many fellow guests, way too cool to be a D.C. party. Our gaggle last night felt as if we’d sudden fallen down the rabbit hole and landed in a trendy Soho joint in the middle of a Sex and the City episode. Spain-Smith explains it was just a taste of what’s to come: She plans to hold such launch parties for each of the six annual issues, just as she has with the Philadelphia version.

Over lunch earlier this week, we talked at length with Spain-Smith about her new baby. She explained that when she began to look to expand the Style brand last year, she realized that D.C. was an underserved market for magazines. “There’s nothing here for the fashionable and stylish set,” she said. “There are closeted fashionable people who don’t know there are other closeted fashionable people in the city…. We want to provide entertainment in a city of hard news.”

With a planned circulation of about 60,000, D.C. Style’s main demographic will be 25- to 45-year-olds city-based professionals. Spain-Smith’s hope to address the younger non-suburban non-celebrity crowd not targeted by publications like Washingtonian and the forthcoming Capitol File (part of Jason Binn’s operation) and Modern Luxury’s new entry into the Washington magazine world, both due this fall. “[Our demographic] often have two incomes, live good lives, eat well, and want to know what’s hot,” she explained.

Spain-Smith, whose husband, Michael, is a rising fashion photog, might be her own best test audience: The intense and driven businesswoman oozes style. As one write-up accurately captured her as “upwardly mobile, sophisticated and showered with diamonds and pearls.” Despite her relative new-ness to Washington, she effortlessly leads the conversation through the city’s best restaurants, hottest chefs, best spas, and hottest clubs.

A few weeks back, we made a snarky comment about Spain-Smith being off her rocker in thinking that D.C.’s Brooks Brothers crowd could be made stylish, but having seen the results of her first night’s effort-watch out Washington. There might be color coming to the city.

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