Designer coordinates room and clothes

Candid Closet

September 19, 1996|By Vida Roberts | Vida Roberts,SUN FASHION EDITOR

Dressing a house may seem a far more complicated matter than dressing oneself, but both require equal parts imagination and common sense, says Michele Drury. She is Drury Lane Interiors, and as an active preservationist is design co-chair for this year's annual decorator show house that benefits Historic Ellicott City. For the transformation of Mount Hebron, a 19th-century manor house, she will set her talents to the music room.

"I'm doing it without color and limited accessories. I told my show partner I have to get some clothes in cream shades. If I'm going to be present in the room, I don't want to be a distraction," she says. "On the other hand I'll be sure to wear really red lipstick so I don't blend into the walls." It is that kind of attention to detail that puts a look across.

And did you find that cream-colored outfit to match your room design?

For the preview party I will wear cream silk wide-leg pants and a jeweled top trimmed in gold that picks up gold in the harp, which is the centerpiece of the room.

It's hard to get dressed and make it appropriate to different interiors, so in going monochromatic I don't clash with my work.

Is a monochromatic look your design signature?

Not for my rooms. I'm known for an extravagant use of color and rooms that don't look contrived. I mix periods and accessories. For myself, I dress almost exclusively in black although that may run from casual to very businesslike.

How do you keep track of the blacks?

Not very well. I have so much in black that I sometimes forget what I have in different lines and silhouettes and buy more.

Where do you shop?

I'm a great fan of Donna Karan. I'm also great at spending a bundle on a new outfit and then half an hour later I'm in a used clothing store. The Junior League store in Washington is one of my favorites.

When I'm going someplace special I like to shop at Cache, which can be very glittery. I tend to reach for plain clothes and if I just shut up and listen to the salespeople they often come up with things I wouldn't think to try myself.

How do you approach your closet?

Every day I dress to a mood. I'm very conscious of my clients, because in dealing with them I'm really selling myself. I've had to dress for jobs in cottages, the Senate Office Building and even a pool house.

What about accessories?

I used to be big on jewelry, but I've narrowed it down. I wear diamond studs, a Rolex watch and a gold cross. My husband died two years ago and I had my engagement ring diamonds set in the cross. I also always wear a medical alert bracelet for an unusual heart condition, which I had made up in gold.

Don't you ever wear frivolous stuff?

Sure. The most fun I have is with hats and shoes. I also think working bags are important and I now carry a classic petite black backpack, which took me four months to find.

Have you found a favorite daily uniform?

It's a T-shirt or white shirt, jeans, black alligator tasseled loafers and white socks. With the Rolex and studs you can get away with a lot.

Is there a memorable fashion moment in your life?

I made my junior high prom gown in yellow chiffon with an empire waist. I wanted daisies to sprinkle on it and couldn't find any, so I found a hat and plucked them off and sewed them on the bodice. I recently saw a similar dress with daisy trim and I giggled. I wore my dress in the '60s and here it was back in style.

Do you give fashion as well as decorator advice?

Only to my bulldog Winston. Winston is never without a scarf -- usually a blue or red bandanna. I also use bandannas as napkins and I suppose my friends wonder whether Winston's recycled neckwear isn't winding up on my dinner table.

Do you know any creative dressers? Let us know. Write to Candid Closet, Vida Roberts, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

Pub Date: 9/19/96

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