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SCREEN STYLE / BETTY GOODWIN

The Shirts and the Ties Make the Officers

January 28, 1994|BETTY GOODWIN

The Series: "NYPD Blue," airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

The Setup: Steady police detective John Kelly (David Caruso) and his crusty mentor, Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz, pictured with Caruso) star in a cinema verite drama that warns viewers about its sexual content and raw language.

Costume Designer: Brad Loman, who also designs costumes for "L.A. Law." His previous credits include the TV series "Civil Wars," the miniseries "L.B.J." and "Robert Kennedy," and the movies "Passenger 57" and "Navy SEALs."

The Look: There's little doubt that the guys at the precinct dress a few cuts above the way real cops do (although not as preposterously chic as Sean Connery's custom Armani-ized LAPD detective in last summer's "Rising Sun"). But their suits and oxford-cloth shirts of uncomplicated line, color and pattern help set the television noir mood, especially against the vivid blue precinct office walls.

Then, just as you're about to be lulled into a tonal blue-gray-brown fog, the camera jumps to Donna Abandando (Gail O'Grady), a busty sweater girl whose idea of fashion hasn't changed since "Dynasty" was on the air, or Detective James Martinez (Nicholas Turturro), whose loud, tacky ties have street written all over them.

Trivia: There is a strong identification of character through shirts and ties. Kelly, for instance, rarely wavers from practical, American button-down oxford shirts and rep ties. No matter the temperature, Sipowicz is hopelessly stuck in short sleeves and too-wide ties. The appropriately named Lt. Arthur Fancy (James McDaniel), the precinct peacock, preens in tab-color shirts and expensive ties.

Hit: Donna, a novel vision--platinum, roller-curled hair courtesy of Marilyn Monroe and beaded, Angora sweaters courtesy of Linda Evans.

Good Hair Day: Not since Lucille Ball has there been a head of red as exceptional as Kelly's. The shade of orange juice, his close-trimmed do is said to be completely natural. "It's quite wonderful to work with," Loman says. "I haven't found a color he can't wear."

We Could Live Without: With her chin-length bob and closetful of man-tailored silk shirts and suits, Kelly's ex-wife, Laura (Sherry Stringfield), an assistant district attorney, looks too expensive for this crowd.

Hemline Watch: Just above the knee for attorneys Laura and Sylvia Costas (Sharon Lawrence); lower thigh for Donna.

Quoted: "I said to the producer, 'How much does Kelly make a year and how much of that does he spend on clothes?' " He budgeted $32 to $42 for shirts and $300 to $450 for suits.

Sources: Many of Kelly's suits sport the Hertling or Nordstrom label. Fancy wears some by Joseph Abboud. Men's shirts are mostly from Nordstrom. Donna's sweaters are by Christine. Laura's clothes are mostly by Calvin Klein.

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