Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

SCENE & HEARD

Ebony Fashion Fair

October 21, 2007|By SLOANE BROWN

SPIRITS WERE AS HIGH AS SOME OF THE hemlines at the 50th Annual Ebony Fashion Fair. A crowd of 2,000, mostly women, converged on Morgan State University's Murphy Fine Arts Center for the traveling fashion show.

This was a time to celebrate 50 years in business, and for the same 50 years, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. has been the show's host here, using its part of the proceeds to benefit its scholarship program.

In its first few years, "a lot of the models couldn't stay in the hotels in town, so they stayed at the [sorority members'] homes. ... So we've been in the trenches for those 50 years," said event chairwoman Rosyln L. Smith.

Doris R. Nash received special honors. She has been known as the No. 1 ticket seller for all but one of the 45 years in which she's been involved with the show. She raised more than $285,000 for the scholarship fund in that time.

After a retrospective of the past five decades, the show launched into a "Glam Odyssey" (this year's theme) of eye-popping couture fashion from designers around the world. Later, audience members mingled with the models and compared notes on their favorite parts of the show.

"The color blocks. Animal prints. The low-cut boots with a short dress," said Leslie Lewis, a University of Maryland Hospital unit secretary.

"The 'in' stuff to me were the heels. They're so high, and I know I'll be in a wheelchair if I try to wear them. But I loved the heels," said Baltimore-based actress Carolyn S. White.

"The shoes were fabulous, absolutely fabulous," said retired educator Paulette McCoy with a sigh.

ONLINE Sloane Brown takes you to the party with a calendar of upcoming events and video reports at baltimoresun.com / scene

A DRINK WITH JACK SHANNON

JACK SHANNON, 44, IS PRESIDENT / CEO of East Baltimore Development Inc., the nonprofit in charge of an $800 million revitalization effort of 80 acres in East Baltimore. He lives in Bolton Hill with wife Denise Shannon, their 12-year-old daughter, Moira, and two dogs, Romeo and Ace.

How do you describe to other people what you do?

I think the way we describe it is that we're building a community, building lives and building opportunity.

Do you find your job fun?

It is fun. It's satisfying most days because, regardless of how bad a day I'm having, I can usually point to at least one thing that's going right and one situation where we've had a positive impact on somebody's life. Plus, growing up Irish Catholic, I have this perspective that the glass is always half-full; while imperfect, there's always something good going on in life.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Absolutely. My wife and daughter will tell you I love buying clothes for work. I'm a collector of ties and have about 100 in my closet.

Do you have words you live by?

There are two things I always try to remember that friends and mentors have told me. One is: The most important thing is to do a good job and to have it appreciated by people you respect. The second is: The right thing isn't always going to be the easy thing.

ONLINE To read more of the interview with Jack Shannon, go to baltimoresun.com / drink

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