Status labels turn up at Hopkins sale


Foraging: New York magazine's fall fashion issue features a photo spread on the Scavengers. Snappy dressers such as socialite Nan Kempner, jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane and designer/socialite Carolina Herrera were invited to put themselves together on the cheap at second-hand shops and street vendors. These folks, who may go the price of a Ford Escort for one outfit, did it with panache. You know these Manhattanites, always up to something clever and out of the ordinary.

You can try this at home. The Johns Hopkins Best Dressed Sale and Boutique starts Sept. 29 at the Evergreen Carriage House. Many Baltimore women already know the possibilities the sale can yield. Labels such as Hermes, Chanel or Anne Klein often crop up among the status gowns, luxury scarves, one-of-a-kind jewelry. There are also plenty of basics to flesh out a wardrobe. Prices are not even close to the originals. The Women's Board and its various sale committee members press some pretty powerful fashion plates to part with barely worn clothes and accessories to help them support their work at the medical institutions.

Labels may be upscale, but the ambience is down-to-earth -- communal try-ons in the antique horse stalls with lots of friendly fashion advice. Wear tights and a T-shirt for speed and be prepared to spend time. For hours and details, call (410) 955-9341.

Teen appeal: If it takes the promise of a modeling career to get girls into books, so much the better. Ford, a world-class modeling agency, and Random House have created a paperback fiction series for girls 10 and up. The "Ford Supermodels of the World" books follow six young models on their rise to the top with the angst and giggles common to so many young people.

The debut of the first two books is backed by a cover model contest which will give the winner and a parent a trip to New York, a contract to be a book cover model, a professional photo session and a tour and meetings with Ford agency reps.

Entry forms are included in the books and free coupon packs at stores such as Hecht's and Borders Books and Music.

Aiming to please: In the retail push to woo and win loyal and frequent customers with special attention, Nordstrom is pushing the right phone buttons. The fall catalog continues to offer unconditional guarantees for service. Orders are promised at your door by FedEx by 4:30 p.m. in two business day if called in before 11 p.m. Availability is confirmed when you call.

Doesn't fit? For free, they promise to come to your door and pick up the package for return or exchange. If size is in question, the personal shoppers know the exact dimensions of all their stock and will match your measurements. Gift wrapping is also free, and precise delivery date and a personal message can be stipulated. Something to keep in mind as the holiday season approaches.

The catalog service operates toll-free, 24 hours a day all week at (800) 285-5800.

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