Designer makes black clothes sparkle


December 23, 1993|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

If mall decorations help make your Christmas more merry, thank Sinclair Russell.

The corporate design director for the Becker Group, a Baltimore-based holiday display company, created the gilded holly theme at Towson Town Center, the train motif at Marley Station and many other fanciful spectacles across the country.

But a life lived in a mall has its downsides. When Mr. Russell, 47, isn't in a mall, he's traveling to one. Shopping, he admits, is the last thing he wants to do there. And don't look for red shirts, green trousers and candy cane ties in his closet.

"I get tired of that," he says. "I nearly always wear black."

What clothes are you asking Santa to bring you?

A Donna Karan cashmere sweatshirt. It's $2,200. I haven't been that good, so I don't think I'll get it.

Is wearing holiday garb part of your job description?

Not at all. I do have a bright red cashmere jacket that I'll for special company occasions or presentations. I put it on if I want a little spice. A couple of years ago, it used to get a lot of reaction. Now men wear such bright colors, it isn't noticed as much.

How many black garments do you have?

Easily 100 -- jackets, pants, sweaters, shirts, shorts, shoes. I'll mix in the odd shirt that's black and white and gray. It's perfect for traveling. You open up your suitcase and everything matches.

What keeps you from feeling like the Grim Reaper?

My personality. I have a very up personality. To me, black is not dark. I'd feel worse in gray or brown. Black is sharp and crisp.

You're in a very creative field. How does your creativity show up in your wardrobe?

Not all of my clothing is expensive. I shop a lot of catalogs. The fact that I spend most of my life in malls has nothing to do with the way I shop. Plus when you're overweight, there's nothing nice about trying clothes on. I prefer to order through a catalog and try on clothes at my leisure. When you're bigger, you try to be less conspicuous.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

Practical and eclectic. I mix clothes from the Gap with designer things.

What's been your funniest clothing mishap?

Because I wear so much black and I'm in the sparkle business, I'll end up in some airport wearing sparkle. Quite often, people stop and tell me I have sparkles all over my face or jacket or arms. I say, "Naturally, it's my business."

What's been your most memorable fashion Christmas gift?

When I was a kid, I remember getting a set of husky jeans lined with flannel rocket ships and a shirt to match. I thought they were great.

And the worst?

Years ago, a friend gave me a vicuna poncho. At first, I thought it was a blanket and said, "How lovely." Then I saw this slit for the neck. It's just too flashy. I could never wear it.

Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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