Artistically adorned head to toe


Laurie Russell, event coordinator for cardiovascular services at Union Memorial Hospital, is a woman with many interests: Fly fishing, golf, gardening, music, bird watching, art and wearable art.

Tomorrow, with the start of Union Memorial's biggest fund raiser, The Rites of Spring (to run through Sunday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds), Russell will preside in her capacity as volunteer extraordinaire at the Second Hand Rose booth, where all kinds of used goodies, from black-tie dresses to bric-a-brac, will be available. You'll know Russell by her straw hat, adorned with marvelous silk roses.

Tell all about this hat.

When we were in California, going to a hospital conference out there, we went to an art festival in Palm Springs. I found a wonderful lady who makes hats, who copies originals. She had this wonderful hat with off-white silk roses.

What kind of clothing are you most fond of?

My real love is wearable art. Wearing art is a very popular thing now, but I was into it early.

Where do you shop?

I love the smaller boutiques. The ones I haunt in Baltimore are Gazelle and Craft Concepts in Greenspring. I am also very cost- conscious. In those shops, the smaller boutiques, they really have to move merchandise. I look for their sales.

Give an example of a great deal.

The last sweater I purchased was a half-price sweater from Gazelle. It is a wonderful, hand-knit design, with muted colors and it has camels on it. Actually my husband bought it. I'm a real sweater person. My weaknesses are sweaters and shoes. I can never have too many sweaters or too many shoes.

How do you square your flamboyant side with your job?

How I dress is very important in my work. I was formerly assistant director of development at the hospital. I have to dress fairly conservatively. I do wear a lot of blazers I've bought from crafts people. I will put on a plain skirt with them. I wear a lot of red when I'm asking for money.

Where do you shop for basics?

Nordstrom. At Brooks Brothers, I just bought a real snappy blouse with French cuffs. I wear that with a scarf and a navy blazer. Donna Spencer helps me there.

How do you handle the whims of fashion?

I do look for unusual things. It's important for people to know their own style and what looks good. I don't really follow fads. I'm dreading the talk of brown. That's not me.

Do you take the same colorful approach to accessories?

I love earrings, very craftsy earrings. If I'm going to a musical event, I'm liable to hang notes on my ears.

What other styles do you fancy?

I'm a Western nut. I have a lot of Western clothing. I have a hand-painted blouse decorated with cactus and silver buttons. It has button covers that go with it.

Do you have boots?

You gotta have boots. It's important that they be comfortable. I have a pair of tan, leather cowboy boots with raised designs. I wear them with blue jeans when I'm riding.

What are some other favorites?

I have a wonderful jacket that I bought at an auction for the Baltimore Opera. It's fabulous. I've had people stop me and say they like my jacket. Someone took different pairs of jeans, added sparkles, and did a patchwork jacket with fringe. It's great for spring or fall.

Pub Date: 4/10/97

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