Fashions and fun to help a hospital

Scene&heard

May 14, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

Spring colors abounded at the Engineers Club. Not flowers, but florals -- on tables of springtime accessories up for sale, on models showing off the latest in spring fashion, and in the outfits of almost 300 mostly female guests at "Fashion Fever 2006." This was the fourth annual fashion show and brunch fundraiser for the Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital, and its most successful yet, said party chair Shelly Malis. Tickets had sold out a month in advance.

It wasn't hard to see why. The two front rooms of the club were fashionista nirvana, with tables overflowing with jewelry, belts and handbags (including one group created from fur). You could stop at the bar for a Bloody Mary or mimosa, then browse to your heart's (and wallet's) content.

"Of all the things Melvin and I go to, this is my favorite," said honorary chair Gisel Mora, wife of Baltimore Orioles infielder Melvin Mora.

"Where else can you do a good thing and shop at the same time?" she asked, laughing.

After stopping to chat with friends, hospital board member Carole Sibel excused herself to return to the silent auction and vendor tables. "I gotta go buy my stuff," she explained.

"I love this event. It's such a mother-daughter thing," said Jennifer Vitale, as she and mom Lourdes Morales put aside their mimosas to take a shopping break and grab a bit of brunch.

"This is my Mother's Day present," proudly explained Edie Brown, whose daughter-in-law, Rebecca Brown, had brought her.

Michele Wax and her 7-year old daughter, Julia Garber, did a quick spin around the vendor tables, before hurrying off to prepare Julia to model in the fashion show. Julia wasn't the only family member deserving of praise. Consider husband and dad Barry Garber and 18-year-old son Zack. Looking a bit as if they were in a lifeboat being tossed about on this sea of females and femininity, Barry and Zack braved the waves with courage, to be there for Julia.

A DRINK WITH CARLA HAYDEN

Smashing image of a librarian

Carla Hayden, "early 50-ish," defies the stereotype of librarian. Stylish and sophisticated, with a strong interest in fashion, she has spent her career in libraries: in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and -- for the last 12 years -- as executive director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Divorced, with no children, Hayden is also past president of the American Library Association.

What's sexy about being a librarian?

That you know how to get information and you know how to use it. And you know its value. That gives us a leg up on people. And, if you have short skirt on, too ...

What do you do in your down time?

I like shopping, looking in stores, going to Washington and New York, traveling. I do like reading for fun, escape. I also like true crime. When I was a kid, my grandmother had [the infamous crime and scandal book] Hollywood Babylon. And I loved that book. I get my fiction in mystery. ... I'm a mystery buff.

What else would we be surprised to know about you?

I really like being a hostess ... I like to clean. My grandmother used to call me "Old Dutch Cleanser." I enjoy it; the dusting, the vacuuming, putting things in order. ... The TV show I like the most is Mission: Organization on HGTV. These professional organizers go in and help people organize. I love that.

Does being a librarian affect your social life?

Yes. You have to work against stereotype. Sometimes I hesitate when someone asks me what I do. But, then you get to that pleasant surprise -- "You're a librarian?" And I get this stare like I'm something they've never seen before. It's a conversation opener. I think they think [librarians] never leave the building. People always expect me to be quiet. Quiet and mousy. Not to crack jokes. Or get jokes.

In a social setting, do you find people act differently around you when they know what you do?

They start watching their grammar. Or they try to come across as intellectual. They're talking about War and Peace, and I'm talking about [Baltimore mystery writer] Laura Lippman or the TV show, What Not To Wear. It's interesting. It's OK. But, did you see the latest issue of Vanity Fair?

SOCIAL EVENTS

TOMORROW

Ragin' Cajun Celebrating Hottest Young Entrepreneurs

Benefits National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship in Baltimore

Beer, wine, hors d'oeuvres, dinner buffet, live jazz, student vendors and business displays Gertrude's at the BMA, 10 Art Museum Drive

6 p.m.

Tickets $100

Call 443-451-7480

FRIDAY

7th Annual Blast!

Benefits USS Constellation Museum

Beer, wine, special cocktails, dinner buffet, fireworks, live music, dancing

USS Constellation & Pier

6 p.m.

Tickets, $100; post-dinner party only, $50

Call 410-539-1797, ext. 422

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