Enter Nancy Carsey's North Baltimore co-op and you're in a parallel universe, one that's decorated in infinite hues of purple, (even her piano is purple) and peopled by larger-than-life-size statues from Africa, Oceania and other faraway places.
The effect is a bit overwhelming. And so is Carsey. The director of Very Special Arts Maryland, a non-profit arts program for people with disabilities, is herself a vision in purple, plum and fuchsia. Save for the occasional detour to black, Carsey, who would prefer to discuss her "experience" rather than her age, buys clothing based on purpleness.
If she enters a store, and no purple is to be found, she leaves.
"It makes shopping easy," she says. No wonder the children who attend school near her office greet Carsey with, "Hi, Purple Lady!"
Where do you shop?
Anywhere I can find purple. If there's purple pieces in the window, I run in.
What is it about purple?
I put it on and I feel like a princess. It's very calming to me.
zTC Do you indulge in purple around the world?
I got a purple gown in Hong Kong that I wore frequently on a cruise. And in Bombay, at an auction on the cruise ship, I bought a purple sari and this incredible two-piece gown that weighs close to 30 pounds that's black and embroidered with real gold thread. I'm going to put a purple lining in the jacket.
Isn't it hard to hold up all that weight?
L It balances well around my hips. It's actually easy to wear.
What kind of purse do you use with a dress like that?
I have this brass bag from Turkey that women use for storing their soap and wash cloth. It's the prettiest little thing.
What purple accessories do you have?
A purple wig and a purple Santa hat. I wore the hat to my literary group last night to make sure they were cheered up for the holidays. And I have a lot of amethyst. It's very healing.
Do you have a law of fashion?
It doesn't matter if it's a good year or a bad year for purple, it's always a good year for me.
Describe those silver bracelets in the kitchen cupboard underneath the purple wine goblets.
Those are pieces I've collected from Tibet, Turkey, India and American Indian silversmiths.
You seem to have one of those inveterate collectible temperaments.
Even when I was a little child, I collected dolls.
Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.
Pub Date: 12/10/98