A designer, not a collector

Candid Closet

March 14, 1996|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,SUN STAFF

Mount Washington clothing designer Leitner Winstead makes no apologies for wearing blue jeans and sweaters. "Half my wardrobe is in my head," she explains. "And the other half is on other people's bodies."

The suits, ballgowns and wedding dresses she makes for other people have earned her a reputation as a skilled tailor with a creative eye. She's sold her blouses to Saks, had jazz musicians as clients and even made costumes for the movie "Hairspray." As for her own wardrobe, Ms. Winstead, 46, says: "My daughter is graduating from college in June. I may make a pastel suit for that."

How do you deal with knowing that some of your favorite clothes are in other closets?

When I have time off, the last thing I want to do is sew. And once I've made something, I don't duplicate it. I can't make it for myself.

How does your work influence your dress?

The funny thing is that nine times out of 10 you'll see me in jeans, Doc Martens and a sweater. When I dress up, I like simple, understated styles. And I love shoes and hats, although I buy hats and rarely wear them.

What about your daughter's closet?

She has a fantasy wardrobe that she'd like me to make for her. But she's trendy. By the time I can make it, it's gone out of style.

What are some actual favorites in your wardrobe?

A basic black dress that's slightly fitted and a charcoal gray pantsuit. I also have a dress I bought recently that I love. It's a dark eggplant wool knit with a high neck and straight sleeves.

Whose look do you most admire? Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. The line, the elegance, the simplicity. What's your funniest fashion story?

When I lived in New York, I'd buy dresses from vintage stores. I'd take them apart, make blouses out of them and sell them to stores. I made a skirt out of one and wore it to this party. I was dancing and I looked down: My skirt was disintegrating. The fabric had dry rotted. I had to leave. Do you know some dressers? Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 3/14/96

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