A '20s theme for Ladew's 35th



October 08, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

REWIND A FEW DECADES and you could've said Ladew Topiary Gardens was the cat's pajamas last weekend. But pajamas were scarcely the style. Instead, think lots of fringes and feathers, headbands and pearls as guests celebrated Ladew's 35th anniversary at a 1920s-themed gala. Party co-chairs Wendy Griswold, Dudley Mason and Susie Reichhart were completely flapper-ized.

"My signature thing is my fishnet stockings. I wear them to every event," announced Griswold, bedecked in a black feather boa.

Though most of the men went the present-day black tie route, there were a couple of exceptions. A pair of white spats was spotted stepping through the throng. And then there was Merrill Lynch financial adviser Henry Godfrey in an outrageous zoot suit -- black with red pinstripes.

"You gotta stand out," he said.

"I think it's all fabulous," said Paper Doll magazine home editor Chi Chi Bosworth. "I love the vintage dresses that people pulled out of mothballs."

"I just wore slinky. Slinky's close," Mayer Baker said, as she and her husband, Chesapeake Bay Foundation executive director Wil Baker, surveyed the scene. She opened her black satin trench coat to reveal a figure-hugging gold lace Dolce & Gabbana frock.

"It was a very long day today," said Meadowlark Washington, explaining why she came in a more current look -- chic black and white silk. In doing that, however, she unwittingly kept with the color scheme of the massive tent set up for dinner and dancing.

It was draped in white, with swags of black, and there were black and white arrangements of flowers and feathers everywhere. Black wire chandeliers swung overhead, as folks swung themselves on the black-and- white dance floor below.


From stockbroker to crepe maker

Ann Costlow had what many would consider a dream job as a successful stockbroker in Baltimore, when she quit the business in 2002 and decided to open a creperie. Sofi's Crepes -- named for Costlow's late bearded collie -- opened next to the Charles Theatre on Charles Street in March 2004. Costlow, 48, is divorced, and lives in Cedarcroft with a Bernese Mountain dog named Caddie.

That's a big career change. How did that happen?

I was unhappy with the finance world and had the opportunity to work on the Pride [of Baltimore]. I took a leave of absence and took a job as cook on the Pride. I had never really been a cook or ever really sailed, but they said the cook's [main] job was to be in charge of morale. And I thought I fit the bill. I sailed for about two months, came back to my job as a broker -- and [then] decided there was more to life and wanted a change. ... I didn't want to do what everybody else was doing. I was in the Bonjour cafe, having breakfast, and it occurred to me, I wanted to open something like this place. But not just coffee. Maybe something like crepes. ... Once I decided what path I wanted to follow, I started doing the footwork -- which was to find a location, go through the Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore program to write a business plan, and then I went to France to learn about making crepes.

Oh, darn.

Yeah, I know. What a bummer. So, the rest is history.

Two and a half years later, are you sick of eating crepes?

No. I love them. I eat them every day.

C'mon, is that just a marketing pitch?

No, it's true. I really love 'em.

That was a huge chance you took. You were doing well as a broker. It wasn't like the industry forced you to find another source of income.

I am a risk taker. In the brokerage business, you've gotta be a risk taker. And I follow my heart. I'm not afraid. To leave the brokerage business, there are all those "golden handcuffs." And I've never been held back by money and prestige, that whole bit. I just feel like, in life, you have to go where your heart tells you to go. And you'll find your fortune there. Whatever that is.

So, financial success isn't tops on your list?

No, yet I'm doing financially well with the crepes. But it wasn't my priority.

This summer you went back on board the Pride, as cook again for a month. How come?

They needed a cook and asked me if I would do it. I said yes, because it was an adventure and an exciting vacation. And I wanted to take myself out of the equation at Sofi's to see how they'd do without me. And they did great. So, now I feel like I can go on to the next task at hand; possibly opening a second location in Annapolis.

Don't you get claustrophobic on that ship for that period of time?

No, because when you go up on deck, it's just miles and miles of sky and water. So, it's incredibly huge.

But, as cook, aren't you stuck down below a lot?

Yes, but doing this the second time, I got pretty good at managing my time. I got meals made, so I could go up on deck and have time to myself to read and think. Plus, when you're in the people business, it's nice to have a break from crowds. ... Even though it's a fairly mundane existence, there are no cell phones, e-mail, computers, and sometimes very little conversation [with shipmates].


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