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Conan, the Sartorial Misfit

September 24, 1993|BETTY GOODWIN

The Show: "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," NBC, weekdays, 12:35 a.m.

The Setup: Modeled after the "Tonight Show" format, "Late Night" features neophyte host Conan O'Brien cracking jokes with sidekick Andy Richter, interviewing two or three guests and tapping his fingers to the music of the Max Weinberg Seven band.

The Costume Designer: None.

The Look: Mixed messages. O'Brien's suits look as squeaky-clean as he does. His pudgy sidekick, a preppy-looking Ed McMahon, and the band members, dressed in funny hats, sunglasses and do-your-own-thing clothing combinations, look as if they hang out with completely different crowds.

Miss: Anyone who has spent eons in blue jeans and T-shirts as a writer for "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons" is bound to be uncomfortable with the suit-and-tie formula. His most pitiful attempt: a black suit, white shirt and skinny black necktie with geek written all over it.

Still, the buzz in fashion circles had O'Brien's stylist looking over Donna Karan's new critically acclaimed men's line and shopping at Emporio Armani in Beverly Hills. So we had hope. But by the end of Week One, with nowhere to go but up, O'Brien opted for the wild-and-crazy-Saturday-night-date look: an open-neck button-down shirt with a white T-shirt showing, blazer and slacks.

On the downhill fashion slide, O'Brien beat out Chevy Chase. The latter gave up on Italian suits for Week Two, reverting to blue jeans and saddle shoes.

Fashion Quote: "Hey, look everybody, it's Friday and I'm not wearing a tie," O'Brien said, announcing the obvious.

Good Hair Day: Unbound by the ubiquitous TV accouterment of hair spray, O'Brien's strawberry-blond hair has a charming, boyish way of falling across his forehead.

Everyone Else's Look: So far, O'Brien's guests have run the fashion gamut, from the corporate look (John Goodman's suit and tie) to grunge (Adam Sandler in a lumberjack shirt and jeans).

Drew Barrymore curled her hair in a way that excites hair-spray makers and wore the tightest dress she could possibly find.

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