This fall, you can embrace a unique blend of Art de Vivre with Sofitel’s exclusive dinner series. Combining the arts, style and gastronomy, each multifaceted evening is hosted by a cultural icon with guests hand-selected from the icon’s little black book in addition to media, influencers and ALL members. Sip exclusive cocktails courtesy of master mixologists while you mingle with luminaries from the worlds of art, fashion and food. You’ll discover what inspires these insiders as you are treated to a sumptuous dinner and specially crafted experiences.
Be Bold with Beverly
To kick off the series, and in celebration of the Vogue x Sofitel global partnership Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square hosted an unforgettable evening with fashion icon and businessperson Beverly Johnson. Moderated by Emmy Award-winning costume designer, celebrity stylist, and founder of Black Owned Everything Zerina Akers, the evening centered on the question “What is your ‘art de vivre’?” The historic Art Deco style hotel with elegant French accents and timeless décor, beautifully displayed vintage Beverly Johnson Vogue covers – including the iconic and groundbreaking August 1974 issue where Johnson was the first African American to grace the cover of Vogue.
General Manager Karla Erales welcomed notable guests including Philippe Etienne, French Ambassador to the U.S., Janell Mayo Duncan, President and Founder of Living Black, Candace Bond, Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago, Faith Porter, Miss DC USA 2022, Joyce Brayboy, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs and artist Maggie O’Neill (to name a few). Guests mingled with Beverly, enjoyed fashion inspired custom Martinis a la Mode by Grey Goose, accompanied by live music before moving in to dinner. Executive Chef Derek Brooks, who brought his ‘Art de Vivre’ to the table, prepared the five-course French-inspired meal.
Beverly and Zerina, later spoke to the intimate audience about breaking barriers within the fashion industry, addressed the challenges both past and present women of color face, and how a single cover changed the fashion landscape, for the better. Today, as an entrepreneur Beverly continues to make her mark on the on the fashion industry with the Beverly Johnson Rule which challenges corporations to combat systemic racism by interviewing at least two people of color for executive level positions.
Zerina also shared some of the hurdles she experiences as a young Black woman when walking into a business meeting, or a fashion house for the first time, and also shared her triumphs, like styling Beyoncé for her Formation Video and her Black is King Visual album where she won an Emmy for costume design. Today, she shines the light on other young Black creatives by highlighting their art and talent on her e-commerce sight Black Owned Everything.
Inspired guests shared their own stories, exchanged in meaningful conversations, and walked away from an unforgettable evening with gift bags to commemorate the experience.
Future events to take place in other North American cultural hubs in the coming months.