What do you get when you have a swanky Georgetown restaurant paired with a "Mad Men"-themed three-course menu and one of D.C.’s next best fashion photographers?
Well, we’d call it a a helluva night. On Wednesday, May 23, Walter Grio -- who dubs himself the "fashiontographer" -- hosted an intimate fashion dinner at the Peacock Café to benefit the Shoot for Change Scholarship at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theater in New York City.
Socialites, up-and-coming designers, and D.C.’s elite, dressed in their best "Mad Men"-inspired outfits, came out to support the fashiontographer’s current philanthropic work.
Guests noshed on fancy fare from a menu also inspired by the AMC series, featuring dishes like Walter’s signature seafood jambalaya, beef Wellington (which was to die for!), oysters, and chocolate cake for dessert. Wine and champagne flowed throughout the night as guests and patrons mingled and took photos with Grio.
Regarding the event’s inspiration, he said: “I love the show, and the styles of the 1950s and '60s [were from a] phenomenal time when people always looked nice and dressed up for any and all occasions.”
Software engineer for Oracle by day, fashiontographer and philanthropist by night, the impeccably dressed Grio tapped into photography after a business trip in 2006 to Stockholm, where he met a makeup artist who needed a photographer for some makeup shoots. He had just purchased a beginner’s camera to document his travels, but was still a novice.
Accepting the offer and posting the photos on a website, later followed by plenty of inquiries, his greatest passion was born: fashiontography.
One lucky student will receive the Shoot for Change scholarship in August.
He founded his nonprofit Shoot for Change with the premise that all the money from his shoots would go to a nonprofit of his clients’ choice. This past February, Shoot for Change hit $115,000.
The mission behind his life and business ventures, he said, is “Do what you love and consider doing it for charity.”
His persistence has led him to working with some of the most glamorous fashion events around the world, including the Berlin and Mercedes-Benz fashion weeks. Grio’s talents have given him mega-opportunities to highlight his work.
“My next five-year goal is to continue traveling around the world, hopefully working at Milan Fashion Week and meeting other photographers, and just gain[ing] more exposure with my business,” he said.
Grio has hosted numerous events in D.C. to showcase his work. His Fashion Week photos are currently for sale and on display at Peacock Café until July 5.