The Library of Congress looked like a scene from “Doctor Zhivago” last night.
Professional skaters glided to Tchaikovsky on a specially designed rink surrounded by a wintry forest. Lighting effects included snowflakes floating from the neoclassical dome.
The evening was hosted by the Initiative for Russian Culture at American University and the Mariinsky Foundation.
The IRC is in its second year fostering educational and cultural exchanges between young Americans and Russians.
Most of the guests were college students from East Coast universities that have participated in the program.
“A mighty American culture and a mighty Russian culture are destined to go on,” said Mariinsky Theatre Artistic Director Valery Gergiev.
He joined Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak for a discussion on the role of the arts in international relations after a beef stroganoff supper.
Kislyak made the observation that art and music are those rare things that “don’t require translation.”
After the talk, guests walked into the winter wonderland where snowflake coconut cake and swan-shaped pastries were served with gelato and Russian black tea.
Other guests included Susan Lehrman, the chairman of the IRC’s advisory committee, and Bay Fang, deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
Claire Diaz-Ortiz, the social-innovation manager for Twitter Inc., posted a tweet Wednesday night:
“I am now about to watch my boss walk down the runway. At a fashion show. My male boss. The end.”
The boss in question was Adam Sharp, Twitter’s head of government, news and social innovation and one of many techies in the annual Geek 2 Chic fashion show.
Before strutting down the runway at Bloomingdale’s in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Sharp and Adam Conner, manager of public policy for Facebook Inc. (FB:US), typed furiously on their mobile devices to update friends and followers.
Organized by Mark Drapeau, who is with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US)’s office of civic innovation, Geek 2 Chic raises money for civic causes, including the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which helps young people start businesses.
In addition to ticket sales, the Network was supported by Bloomingdale’s extended shopping hours. The store gave 10 percent back to the organization.
The night had a young vibe. The models were mostly in their 20s and 30s. The audience consisted of mainly female admirers.
A DJ played ’90s hits and James Bond theme songs.
Drapeau was joined by Microsoft colleague Ashish Jaiman, a casual dresser instantly transformed by a camel cashmere coat.
Menswear from the likes of Ralph Lauren, Turnbull & Asser and John Varvatos gave a dash of elegance to Jason Harris Tepperman, director of the Department of Treasury’s small- business-lending fund, and Sergio Rodriguera, Jr., who is with the House Financial Services Committee.
Eric Schulze, a biologist from the Food and Drug Administration walked the runway in glasses and bowtie while his iPad showed a cover photo of his hero, Carl Sagan.
Other participants included young venture capitalists like Jonathon Perrelli, managing director of Fortify.VC, and teenage entrepreneurs like Jordan Brooks. Brooks, a recent high-school graduate, won the Network’s Greater Washington Region’s Winter Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge earlier this year.
The 18-year-old looked debonair in a Hugo Boss tuxedo with pink pocket square.
(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include John Mariani on wine, Katya Kazakina on art.
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