baltimore children's literacy programs

The Baltimore Sun

One of the hottest spots in Baltimore last weekend was a car dealership, as a couple hundred glammed-up guests nibbled on hors d'oeuvres and sipped cocktails while surrounded by exotic cars at Maserati of Baltimore. Casino games inside and a cigar lounge outside added to the evening's pleasures. It all led up to a high-end, high-energy fashion show featuring collections from several area designers. And that was inside the dealership's garage. A very clean garage, we should add.

The evening's high point came after all but one of the outfits had been shown, when event chairwoman Jasmine Richardson introduced guest of honor, Baltimore native and "Project Runway" winner Christian Siriano, and the night's one live auction item - a black chiffon cocktail dress he designed for the occasion. The lucky winner? Siriano himself, who bought the dress for $1,300 and then donated the entire amount to the evening's beneficiaries: children's literacy programs.

"I know it's for Maryland literacy programs, which [are] dear to my heart because my mom's been a reading teacher for, like, 40 years," he said.

"Fierce," said Baltimore Business Journal account executive Shawn Hyatt.

"My favorite part was, obviously, Christian. But the whole event was really well done," said Harford County attorney Sarah Perry. She and friend Rhonda Miller, research coordinator at Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, put on a pretty good show themselves in sleek cocktail dresses and elaborate necklaces.

"This is my first runway show ever. I couldn't believe the models," said John Lannon, PSA Financial insurance broker.

"I don't go to too many fashion shows. I'm in construction, but ... there were a number of dresses I really did enjoy," said event honoree Ken Banks.

Long after the fashion show had ended, the garage remained crowded. A throng surrounded Siriano, each wanting a moment with him. So, how was all that adulation fitting the young design star?

"I love it. ... Who doesn't love being adored?" he said, as he posed for photos with fans.

See and be seen at the Farmers' Market

One of the best parties in town these days doesn't even require a ticket. Early Sunday mornings, much of B-more's see-and-be-seen crowd is making the scene at the Baltimore Farmers' Market.

Under the JFX last week, I immediately ran into Center Stage's Irene Lewis, who said her hubby, architect Mitchell Kurtz, loves to chat up the farmers.

"The watermelon guy was fascinating!"

TV diva Donna Hamilton was there with husband David Paulson, who pointed out that the market's sausage and biscuits totally beat out the usual party hors d'oeuvres.

Baltimore Community Foundation bigwig Cheryl Casciani never misses this party. "I do my shopping, and socialize."

Baltimore promotions director Bill Gilmore calls the Farmers' Market "the real thing. ... It's fun because no one has makeup and good clothes on. Baseball caps really work." Community nursing guru Marla Oros looked downright fetching in her baby blue cap. Our always camera-ready Ms. Hamilton 'fessed up to just a little lip gloss. "Because you never know who you'll see."

We should all have the last couple of weeks that Susie Schapiro just had. First, there was the whirlwind vacation with amour David Nevins: three days in Paris, then a Baltic cruise from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg to Stockholm. She returned to be honored as the Spirited Woman of the year at a Red Cross fundraising luncheon at Morton's. Susie has spent years providing educational testing for children who have learning challenges and weaknesses in school, much of that pro bono.

"I'm very, very honored and really, really flattered. But, truthfully, I don't enjoy being in the spotlight," she whispered. She prefers the sidelines, watching her kids - law school grad Lindsay, grad student Courtney and pre-med student Evan - honored for their accomplishments.

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