Kitchen scents invade the bath

STYLE FILE

October 14, 2001|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,Sun Staff

The sign reads "Ellie's Smellies," which by itself is enough to draw you into the shop. What could that possibly mean? But after stepping through the tiny Reisterstown store's doorway, you know: Ellie's Smellies is all the things that make you glad you have a nose.

Pumpkin spice, custard, hot apple crisp -- the scents of fall swirl about, but there's not a pastry in sight. Instead, the new store is filled with fragrant handmade soaps, bath salts, lotions and candles in seasonal scents and aromas like spear-mint with lemon, pear, vanilla, cucumber and raspberry.

"I'll try anything given the chance," says Ellie Vratanina, the shop's owner and product maker. "I was reading about soap making at Barnes & Noble, and I thought, 'I can do that; it sounds like fun.' " So she did, testing her creations with her co-workers at the bookstore. Their encouragement prompted Vratanina to try selling the soaps to the public, and three years later Ellie's Smellies opened its doors.

The shop, which also carries artwork from local artists, is open Thursday through Sunday. Prices range from $4.50 for a bar of soap to $8.95 for hand-poured candles. 227 Main St., 410-526-1100; www.elliessmellies.com.

Dreams come true for male Imeldas There's a reason men don't have the shoe-hound rep women do: The guys don't have nearly the variety available to them that we do. But Gordon Rush is doing his part to change that. His fall line offers the modern male a sleek, yet functional (cushy rubber soles) alternative to the usual business loafers and casual sneakers. Slick black leather with minimal detail defines the collection's career-oriented styles, while city-chic leather lace-ups make up the casual offerings. The shoes are available at Nordstrom for $150 to $235.

And she'll never need cosmetic surgery

Apparently real women just weren't cutting it at New York-based Karin Models, the agency that counts Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Estella Warren among its clients, because the firm has just signed a figment of somebody's imagination: Elektra, a busty Marvel Comics character who (shocker) is an Olympic-level gymnast and an assassin.

"We are going to treat Elektra just like we treat any other top model at Karin," says agency president Scott Lipps, who plans on marketing the two-dimensional diva to clothing, makeup and jewelry companies. "She's beautiful, sexy and approachable. Quite simply, she's the ultimate model."

Yikes. Let's hope most people still prefer a pulse.

How fashion, life evolved together

A new book, Key Moments in Fashion: The Evolution of Style (Hamlyn; $30), marks developments that changed the way we think about ourselves and our clothes. Through detailed history and pictures, the book puts into place the significance of things, including the first bra, women's pants and the miniskirt, all of which brought varying social consequences for women. Some empowered; some objectified; but all altered attitudes.

Other dates of consequence include the creation of the first women's bathing "costume" (1914, Chanel), the 1960s anti-fashion movement and the corporate chic of the '80s.

It'll make you think twice about what you put on in the morning.

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