Jessica Atkins, 33, is used to getting noticed for her clothes. As owner of a fashion-consulting business, Couture Closet, the Federal Hill resident has worked with high fashion for years and tends to like clothes that are a bit out of the ordinary. "In my business, I find runway pieces; the kinds of things that are limited-edition, that people don't really want to wear. I sell them to museums and to collectors. Very avant-garde pieces, like Comme des Garcons; the dresses with three arms and weird humps, the dresses that are made out of razor blades. ... Because of the field that I work in, [I] get exposed to pieces that people don't consider very pretty but which are interesting to [me]," she said. "I get made fun of a lot in my neighborhood. Like, I have a very beautiful Miguel Adrover runway skirt that looks like a blanket. I'll wear that with a simple camisole. And everybody's like, `Oh, did you make that yourself? Is that a blanket?" And, it's funny because it was in `Vogue.'" However, for Everyman Theatre's Winter Gala theme of "Paint the Town Red," Atkins stepped out of her own box and went a little "prettier" than usual, with the end result still being a holiday look that got plenty of notice. HER STYLE: "[Normally], I like really odd pieces. I like to mix one single look-at-me piece with jeans or a ball skirt." HER ENSEMBLE: Adrienne Landau white fox stole from Neiman Marcus. Red crepe tiered dress with rhinestone-decorated nude tulle yoke from the BCBG runway line. Gold brocade and gold karung snakeskin Emanuel Ungaro Couture strappy sandals. Black headband with rhinestone bow from Saks Fifth Avenue. Limited edition Lulu Guinness satin rose flower pot handbag from Harrods in London. White gold and diamond Cartier love bracelet. "I lost five wedding rings. After the fifth one, my husband said, `No more wedding rings. You're getting something that screws on.' So, now I have a wedding bracelet." IF HER CLOSET WAS ON FIRE, THE FIRST THING SHE'D RESCUE: "Early '90s Prada heels. Prada made the best shoes ever. They're super well-balanced. They're so comfortable, they could be 5 inches, it doesn't even matter. They feel great, and you can wear a little black dress with them and look cool and funky." LOVED AND LOST: "I had an Alexander McQueen. It was a carousel-inspired corseted dress. I sold it. I really wish I hadn't. It was the star of the [Metropolitan Art Museum's] retrospective about two years ago. I could've lost that weight. Probably not - but it was really beautiful," she said with a laugh.
Karen Jackson, for The Baltimore Sun