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Phooey on Froufrou

August 20, 1993

The Movie: "Manhattan Murder Mystery"

The Setup: On New York's affluent West Side, a neighbor's puzzling death propels Carol Lipton (Diane Keaton, pictured) on an amateur murder investigation, to the dismay of her husband, Larry (Woody Allen, pictured), a book publisher. Family friend Ted (Alan Alda) goes along with the hunt, and one of Larry's authors, Marcia Fox (Anjelica Huston), gets involved too.

The Costume Designer: Jeffrey Kurland, a longtime Allen collaborator, whose resume includes "Radio Days," "Broadway Danny Rose," "Alice," "Shadows and Fog" and "Husbands and Wives."

Hit: Keaton continues as one of the movies' great style queens. Let's just call her "Annie Hepburn," as she upholds some of the best quirky traditions of fashion Hall of Famer Annie Hall while injecting allusions to Katharine Hepburn doing her man thing--baggy trousers and button-front shirts with turned-up collars worn over turtlenecks.

Keaton's mix includes such vintage items as a 1940s battered leather messenger's jacket (which went home with the actress) and what Kurland calls "upscale fashiony" sportswear. Slightly disappointing are her ordinary little zippered shoulder bags.

The Annie Hepburn feeling is consistent throughout, from bedtime (when Keaton appears in men's nightshirts, collars in the up position) to an evening at the opera (mannish white pantsuit piled with pearls). It's the look of a Manhattan matron with plenty of time to shop and spend.

Try This at Home: Check out Keaton's belted jackets, which give shape and focus to a mature woman's body, and the way layering adds interest. The jackets go over sweaters, shirts, trousers, long pencil skirts and short ones. Details worth noting: little round sunglasses and the lace-up shoes and flat boots. (A pair of elf boots are Keaton's one and only dud).

Everyone Else's Look: Allen appears in conservative business suits, slightly more dressy than his usual film persona. It's Alda's playwright character who wears the khaki trousers and tweedy jackets.

Miss: Huston's all-black Village intellectual look, heavy on the leather, is a bit too Catwoman to be believable.

Quoted: "Diane Keaton's character is a real true New Yorker, definitely eclectic, into the culinary arts, interested in everything and wanting to take part in everything, from a rock concert to the symphony, and I wanted that to be reflected in her wardrobe," says Kurland.

Sources: Several of Keaton's jackets and shirts were found at New York vintage shops (Andy's Cheapies and Second Coming) and at Los Angeles' Repeat Performance. New pieces came from Calvin Klein, DKNY, Ralph Lauren, The Gap and other stores. One nightshirt was made by Turnbull & Asser. Her sunglasses are from Robert Marc Opticians in New York. Many of Allen's clothes are from Paul Stuart and Brooks Brothers.

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