Clothes keep cantor singing in style

Candid Closet

March 21, 1996|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,SUN STAFF WRITER

When you're in the limelight as much as Melvin Luterman, you understand the importance of clothes. The cantor at Temple Oheb Shalom says his tuxedos, silk ties and designer labels help him sing in style.

"In my profession, I want to look good all the time," says Cantor Luterman, 58, who lives in Pikesville.

To stay well-dressed, he subscribes to GQ, shops often and keeps a meticulous closet.

He also plans ahead. For instance, he's already picked out what he'll wear when he performs in a benefit concert at the temple this Sunday at 7: 30 p.m. Just look for the man in the polka-dotted bow tie.

Do you have a wardrobe for performing?

Yes. It's gorgeous. I have three tuxedos. The most recent one I bought is my favorite. It's a Jhane Barnes. It's double-breasted. I also have beautiful shirts and ties. Anything to keep them happy.

Does it really make a difference?

I believe the better dressed you are, the better you're looked upon. When you walk out and people see you dressed beautifully, that's 90 percent of it.

What about the rest of your clothes?

My clothes center around the traditional look. My profession warrants it. I officiate at weddings, funerals, go to hospitals. I want to look my best. I'm enamored of Italian designers. I like Armani. I buy nearly all my clothes at J.S. Edwards.

I recently got a red jacket with black leather trim. It has a huge circle on it filled with Walt Disney characters. I call that my off-duty look. That's for when you want to go out and be yourself; you don't have to be on stage. As you can probably tell, I really love clothes.

Where did that love come from?

My father was an advocate of buying quality. He was an excellent dresser, and so are my mother and wife. I pick out some of my wife's clothes.

What's the one thing you're happiest you gave her?

I bought her a dress for our son's wedding three years ago. It was long and white with little pearls and sequins.

What are you happiest you gave yourself?

I treat myself all the time. I recently bought two sports jackets a dark wine color and a brown, both by Nicole Miller. The lining looks like her ties. I also bought the ties and socks to go with them. The whole look.

Do you have a good luck outfit?

My wife bought me a beautiful skull cap. That's for good luck when I do cantorial music.

Anything ever brought you bad luck?

I don't think of bad luck.

What's your funniest clothing story?

Many, many years ago, I fell in love with a jacket called the Nehru. I liked the look of no tie. It didn't stay long because my wife didn't like it. It was light blue. I thought it was great-looking. It really wasn't classy, but it was different.

If you could trade closets with anyone in the world, whose would you most like too have?

I would trade closets with my good friend Nathan Lam, a cantor in California who teaches voice to movie stars. He buys all designer clothes. We have a good laugh whenever we visit each other. He looks in my closet, and I look in his.

Not too many men care about clothes as much as you do. What would you say to them?

You feel better when you dress well. People respect you. You don't have to have a lot of money. You can just have one or two excellent suits.

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

Pub Date: 3/21/96

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