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Going floral as festival blooms; Candid Closet: Patti Nicholson, district sales manager for the Carlisle Collection of New York, helped plan the Flower Mart Celebrity Tea.


The Women's Civic League no longer runs Baltimore's annual Flower Mart in Mount Vernon; this year it's been adopted by the Flower Mart at Mount Vernon Ltd., an offshoot of the Mount Vernon Belvedere neighborhood association.

Fortunately, though, the venerable Civic League still has a presence at the event with its Flower Mart Celebrity Tea, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, Wednesday at the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion, 11 W. Mount Vernon Place. (The Flower Mart takes place on the same day, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

Among the tea's executive committee members is Guilford's fashionable Patti Nicholson, who will be in full floral mode. Nicholson, the mother of three, is district sales manager for the Carlisle Collection of New York. Carlisle, a coordinated line of clothing sold by appointment, appeals to working women "all the way up to my customer who was 84," says Nicholson, who is 49.

It's nearly impossible to ask about her wardrobe without hearing grand praise of Carlisle, but Candid Closet did learn that Nicholson has kept a great cache of '60s clothing in her home and that a recent home addition included a "very, very generous" closet.

How does a company such as Carlisle market itself?

The company decided six years ago to appeal to clientele across the board, from carpool mothers to professional women to those who have responsibilities such as fund-raising and community activities while taking care of families.

What doesn't the company offer?

Other than extremely formal wear, underwear and night clothes, it has just about everything.

How will you look your Flower Mart part in this heat?

I will wear a dupioni silk blouse and slacks, and even if it's warm, the silk breathes.

How do you do your hair?

Gerald Popko at Corbin's does my hair. I'm just thrilled with him.

Before you started working in fashion, how did you shop?

My husband used to shop with me. He's my No. 1 critic and admirer. For the most part, we'd go shopping when we were out of town.

Have you kept anything from those vacation sprees?

Actually, I did get an Italian knit pants and top ensemble that I bought in Carmel, Calif., that will be around for a long time.

Where did you shop as a girl?

I grew up in northern New Jersey, and I would meet my grandmother at Bonwit Teller and make a day of it. She bought me my first two-piece bathing suit.

What was your strongest fashion influence in your teens?

The Beach Boys and preppie clothes: madras, plaid, Weejun loafers, crocheted button sweaters, Lady Bug, which slowly transformed into the Izod look. And Pappagallo -- oh, yes, those little bows.

You've kept a lot of those things.

It was very easy to find an outfit for my daughter for a '60s day at McDonogh. It's all in a large cedar closet, a treasure trove.

What did she wear?

Slacks with quilted madras patches in powder blue and pink, a grosgrain ribbon belt and a yellow cotton Oxford shirt.

Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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