From the Baltimore Sun
Coordinating style is first order of business
State's new first lady has own transition team
By Stephanie Shapiro
January 17, 2007
As she prepared for her husband's inauguration today, Katie Curran
O'Malley leaned on an unofficial transition team of family and friends
who were fortified by the sweet perfume of victory and a great excuse
to go shopping.
The same close-knit group of moms who white-knuckled their way through
the 2006 election while also working, carpooling, grocery shopping and
walking the dog are now caught in a whirlwind of preparation for the
inauguration of Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley.
With sister Mary Carole Curran, Katie O'Malley selected snazzy suits
for the swearing-in ceremony.
Friend Mary DeMarco of La Terra in Hampden made glittery jewelry for
O'Malley and her daughters to wear during this week of parties,
ceremonies and receptions.
At the Vasarri boutique in Pikesville, Holly Gioioso and Shern James
helped O'Malley try on "a million dresses" for tonight's inaugural gala
at the Baltimore Convention Center. Maryland's new first lady decided
upon the first gown she found, an arresting strapless design by Marisa
The dress is made of an iridescent Thai silk in sapphire blue. "No
black," O'Malley says. "This is a happy occasion."
Corbin in the Colonnade will style O'Malley's hair, and she'll wear
diamonds on loan from Radcliffe Jewelers, as well as treasured pieces
purchased from Howard Street Jewelers, where her husband found their
Friend Joan Levine, who works at the Trish McEvoy counter at Nordstrom,
will apply O'Malley's makeup. "They do tricks" so lipstick and mascara
stay on, and there will be no need for touchups, she says.
For O'Malley, a district judge and mother of four, this evening will
recall the occasions, when as a 16-year-old, she'd try on ball gowns at
Hutzler's just for fun and be transported by fairy tale imaginings.
This time, "At least I get to keep the dress," O'Malley says.
It is a dream dress come true, says Gail Kandel, Vasarri's owner. "I
can't tell you how close to perfect this gown was."
Nor will O'Malley sport a sober suit at today's noon swearing-in
ceremony at the State House. She will wear an aquamarine silk jacquard
suit with a medallion pattern and rhinestone buttons by Etcetera, a
line of edgier professional clothing sold at trunk shows. "She loves
patterns," says Nancy Spadaro-Weintraub, the area manager for Etcetera
who also sold pieces to wear at the ceremony to Curran, DeMarco and
friends Kim Prey and Cathy Lobo. Originally, O'Malley had her eye on a
"black and white zebra-inspired coat, but I steered her away from that
a little bit," she says.
The O'Malley entourage will find itself in sartorial symbiosis with Lt.
Gov.-elect Anthony G. Brown and his wife, Patricia Arzuaga, as well as
their relatives, friends and associates.
"I got a tuxedo custom-made and a new suit custom-made, the whole
thing," Brown says. His new attire comes from Kustom Looks Clothier in
Landover, also patronized by Brown's predecessor, Michael S. Steele.
Landover tailor Kwab Asamoah, a Morgan State University graduate, is
"doing a three-button black tux with the vest, and not the cummerbund,"
Brown says. The tux has a black-on-black paisley lining that matches
the bow tie and vest, notched lapels and double vents. "I'm retiring a
tux I've been wearing for quite a while now."
At first, though, Brown was not thinking about wearing a new tux. "I
really, really wanted to wear my military uniform" to today's events,
says Brown, an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq. "I
would love nothing more than to wear my dress uniform."
Ultimately, Brown decided that dress blues wouldn't send the right
message in his first formal appearance as lieutenant governor.
Katie O'Malley and her friends have taken to the necessary frivolity of
inaugural prep with brio. During the gubernatorial campaign, O'Malley
didn't want to make too many plans, for fear of jinxing her husband's
chances. But DeMarco, who has known O'Malley since they both worked at
Phillips seafood restaurant as young women, says, "A year ago, we were
planning this because we knew they would win."
Since the new year, the women have indulged in makeup consultations,
eyebrow tweezes, dermal abrasions, hair appointments and nonstop
Curran found a knee-length Kay Unger dress during an expedition to
Bloomingdale's in New York with DeMarco.
Alice Florin, sister to Curran and O'Malley, went shopping with her own
coterie near her Miami home. There, she found a "beautiful Armani dress
on sale," Curran says. The sisters' mother, artist Barbara Curran,
plans to wear a black dress with a burnt umber jacket of cut velvet.
The next generation of Curran and O'Malley women are as close as their
moms are and just as keen on fashion and the joy of finding a good
deal. Tonight, Curran's daughter Bella, 15, will wear a chic black Ann
Taylor dress with a Lulu Guinness shrug snagged at Loehmann's.
O'Malley's daughter Tara, 15, will wear a Philip DiCaprio emerald-green
dress "from my closet" and Grace, 16, will don a champagne Vera Wang
dress discovered at the Saks outlet with her grandmother.
As for her sons, William, 9, and Jack, 4, "We'll throw the boys
together at the last minute," O'Malley says. She wishes she could find
Will's camel-hair jacket that may have disappeared at the Hippodrome on
election night. But he can borrow something from his cousin Liam,
Curran's 10-year-old son. The cousins plan to wear ties decorated with
their favorite dog breeds.
O'Malley had to lay down the law with her husband, though. When the new
governor suggested over breakfast recently that he might wear a suit to
the inaugural festivities, O'Malley objected vehemently. "If I'm
wearing a gown, how awful am I going to look?" she asked. It would be
comparable to having a mystery date, "and I get the bum!"
Fortunately, he opted for his trusty tuxedo, O'Malley says. "It still
Copyright © 2007, The Baltimore Sun