Taking care in what she wears

CANDID CLOSET

Candid Closet: Elena Russo, of South Baltimore, has an eclectic wardrobe to suit her wildly different roles of fashion model, TV floor manager at Camden Yards and public speaking teacher

Fashion

May 06, 1999|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

Elena Russo is a clothing chameleon.

One day, she may be striding down the runway, a fashion model with European credentials. Another, she's a TV floor manager at Camden Yards in cargo pants and a T-shirt. At night, she's a modestly dressed public speaking teacher at Towson University.

With a 5 foot 11-inch frame, Russo can pretty much wear what she pleases, but she sticks to "clean and simple looks," the kind "that are out there right now, and also seem to be classic. When people say it's an investment, it truly is an investment," Russo says.

This Saturday, Russo, a South Baltimore resident with energy to spare, will be modeling at the inaugural Preakness Fashion Classic.

Produced by Octavia of Cross Keys, the event features Escada Sport, Anne Klein and other designers.

It benefits the Johns Hopkins Breast Center Research Fund and includes lunch and a day at the races. Tickets are $60. Call 410-654-3320.

What au courant attire appeals to you?

I love the menswear look. The pants suits and skirt suits. Zanella makes menswear suits for women that has a masculine look but isn't boxy. The fabrics are really nice, like an Armani suit for men. Octavia carries Zanella and Cerruti as well.

What is the challenge of being tall?

It's hard to find pants that are long enough. But I find them at Octavia.

Where do you shop when modeling in Italy?

There's an outlet store called Vestistock, one in Rome and one in Milan, that has all designer samples. I go every time I'm there.

What do you wear when you're just hanging out?

T-shirt and jeans. And I like to wear those little Bette Paige spaghetti strap tops.

Is it hard to stay model-thin?

I work out and try to eat well. If you don't fit the fashion samples, you don't work. You really need to stay a size 6. The idea of having to worry about my shape is an added incentive not to eat the cotton candy at the ball park.

What do you wear when you're working at Camden Yards?

I'll wear jeans and very minimal makeup. I don't like people knowing I'm a model in that business. I wouldn't strut around in palazzo pants and a little tube top while setting up for an interview with Cal Ripken. That would be a major no no.

It must be a challenge to go from one field, where models aren't hired for their brains, to another, where you have to have brains.

I do feel like a chameleon. And how you're perceived and what is expected of you changes your behavior, too.

Do you have any clothing obsessions?

I have a kitchen pantry in my bedroom filled with shoes, from Hush Puppies to Yves St. Laurent stilettos. And I'm very particular about my PJs. They're made by Hanro of Switzerland, and they all hang on the wall next to my shoe pantry.

Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 5/06/99

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