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BY DESIGN : Weird Suits, Weird Ties, Weirder Dos

October 13, 1994|BETTY GOODWIN

The Movie: "Pulp Fiction."

The Setup: Writer-director Quentin Tarantino's take on contemporary lowlifes, criminals, thieves, drug dealers and their female companions.

The Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann, whose credits include Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Renaissance Man."

The Look: The weird black suits, white shirts and skinny black ties, and even weirder hairdos (worn by John Travolta's greasy-haired Vincent Vega and Samuel L. Jackson's Afro-topped Jules, whose curlicue sideburns evoke an old-time buccaneer) give the film a graphic and timeless quality. For added punch, we get a drug dealer's girl (Rosanna Arquette) with body parts pierced in 18 places and a sex slave (Steve Hibbert) fully bound in gross-out S&M leather gear.

You Should Know: In the bloodiest scenes that pack the most wallop, the actors wear black and white. "I'm always thinking of the tone and color of what people are wearing, particularly if they're going to get shot," Heimann explains. "(Then) you have to consider if you want to make a big statement or a small statement. When the kid gets tortured with gunfire, I didn't need to make it more visual because this is just the buildup for what comes next. So he wears a dark-green shirt. You have to think of the important moments."

Triumph: Unforgettably divine is Mia (Uma Thurman), a gangster's top-dog, high-style wife, in a black bob wig reminiscent of Danish actress Anna Karina and simple elongated white shirt with protracted geometric cuffs, black bell-bottoms, black bra and gold ballet slippers. Her lips and nails are blood red.

Trivia: Assorted characters flaunt earrings in various locations, but few actually puncture skin. Travolta's ear was not pierced. Ving Rhames' ears were. Arquette's brows, ears, navel, nose, et cetera, were not.

Sources: Mia's white shirt and bell-bottoms are from Agnes B., as is Vincent's black suit. Jules' black suit is by Perry Ellis. Vincent and Jules' skinny ties are vintage. S&M clothing is from Pleasure Chest.

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