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He Makes It Look So Easy

August 04, 1994|BETTY GOODWIN

The Movie: "Clear and Present Danger."

The Setup: Acting CIA Deputy Director Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford, pictured) battles Colombian drug lords as well as closer-to-home U.S. government enemies in a thriller based on Tom Clancy's bestseller.

The Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack, whose credits include "Indecent Proposal," "A River Runs Through It," "Rain Man," "The Natural," "All the President's Men," "Tootsie" and "The Way We Were."

Inspiration: For all high-ranking U.S. government officials other than Ryan, former President George Bush and his Administration were the prototypes. "Everybody was modified Bush Administration," Pollack says. "Look at Bill Clinton--he's dressed very hip. It looks to me like he wears custom-made suits or Armani-type clothes with the oversized shoulders and wider lapels. George Bush wore a no-shoulder Brooks Brothers cut with no distinguishable features. His Administration all looked alike and always wore dark colors from dark gray to dark blue to pin-striped blue."

Hit: Count yourself as a style maven if you noticed a certain classy-without-even-trying look about Ryan. Something that's hard to put your finger on, but you know it's there. Pollack is at top form dressing movie leading men, including Robert Redford in last year's "Indecent Proposal," and practically every other film starring Redford. The designer envisioned Ryan, a professor and husband of a chic doctor (Anne Archer), as a not-your-typical-CIA-bureaucrat and far more relaxed looking than the rest of his colleagues congregating in the Oval Office.

Details: Pollack distinguishes Ryan with subtle and minute attention to particulars. Ryan wears custom-made Nino Cerruti jackets that fit somewhere in between Bush and Clinton--shoulders are modern yet natural and lapels are neither too wide nor too narrow. We're talking minutiae when you get to the jacket's notch height--marking the widest part of the lapel--which Pollack lowered one inch, a level more suitable to the actor's height (about 6 feet, 1 inch) and broad shoulders. Trousers feature a single pleat to remove bulk from the thighs. Don't forget shirts--they're all blue to bring out Ford's eyes.

Good Hair Day: Ryan's perfectly clipped short hair is a pleasingly au naturel look with a few gray strands peeking through.

Quoted: "Everything for Harrison was carefully selected to look very normal. It's meant to look like you didn't spend a lot of time, but you do. In truth it takes tons of hours trying to find the right things," Pollack says. Those things include an average-looking Windbreaker that Ryan wears with a pair of jeans in his big chase scene. For that scene, Pollack explains, "We tried every kind of jacket conceivable. A canvas barn jacket, a hunting jacket, a leather bomber jacket, a Levi's jacket. We tried the Levi's jacket with khaki pants. We tried every combination. We finally were going to use an oil cloth jacket. I aged it by rubbing sand in it so it wouldn't look new, but when Harrison tried it on it was too hot. He sweated so bad he couldn't wear it. Then we tried different Windbreakers of every style. We ended up with a cotton, zip-front Windbreaker because nylon is very noisy--the sound man would go nuts."

You Should Know: Pollack, who is also designing Ford's costumes for his next film, "Sabrina," escorted the actor--fully dressed in Jack Ryan garb--to "Sabrina" director Sydney Pollack, who happens to be Bernie's brother. The reason: No one wanted Ford to repeat himself visually in his next role.

Sources: Ryan's ties are by Donna Karan and Calvin Klein. His Windbreaker is from the Patagonia catalogue. Shirts were custom-made by Anto in Beverly Hills. The White House officials wear suits by Brooks Brothers and Carroll & Co. in Beverly Hills.

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