Follow the fashionable to First Thursday

INSIDE STYLE

September 01, 1994|By Vida Roberts | Vida Roberts,Sun Fashion Editor

Show time! Tonight kicks off this season's First Thursday, the people-meet-art monthly gallery and museum opening night tied to Charles Street's culture corridor. First Thursday's are as close as Baltimore gets to a fashion parade. The bucks and bohemia collage of gallery goers, artists and students shows a cross-section of personal style that ranges from discreetly expensive to wildly creative with some just plain dressing in between.

It's an unflappable crowd, tolerant of stylish self-expression and posers. So if there's anything hanging in your closet that feels too over-the-top for blander occasions, tonight's the night to take it out.

You can test your new stiletto heels to sounds from Mambo Combo, wear scary black to a French Film Noir at the Baltimore Museum of Art or strike an attitude at participating cafes and restaurants. The walk-about begins at 5:30 and runs until 7:30.

Call the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore for details. (410) 244-1030.

Quick trend: Just in case you've missed the goat, here's a reminder that mohair is hot, hot, hot this season. All the designers showed it, but the definitive fuzzy item is the little cropped sweater in candy colors.

Designer fluff carries hair-raising price tags, but women who knit can beat those. Doris Rocklin, one of the owners of Woolworks on Falls Road, says she wrote a pattern to copy a magazine photo for a customer who was early on to the trend.

At $6.75 a ball and six balls for a small size, the sweater can be had for less than $50. We would discourage women who require a large size from pursuing this snug look.

Mohair has many pluses, says Ms. Rocklin. It comes in a wide range of colors, from heathery neutrals to intense brights, it knits up quickly on No. 10 needles and it is warm though virtually weightless.

Mohair is not for novices, but a knitter with average skills can manage it just fine. Woolworks has classes for starters and experts. Call (410) 337-9030.

Out of Africa: Good design withstands the test of time and it is worth having. In conjunction with Benin: The Royal Art of Africa exhibit, which opens at the Baltimore Museum of Art on Sept. 7, Swarovski (the fine crystal maker that sponsored the exhibit), has developed jewelry inspired by the motifs and pieces in the collection.

The handsome jewelry is rich in decoration and symbolism, yet affordable. The originals, which represent the artistic legacy of one of the greatest African civilizations, are priceless. Reproduction pieces are hand-crafted, 24-karat gold over pewter in cuff links, earrings, pins and beaded necklaces. Most pieces are priced well under $50.

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