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BY DESIGN : A Floral Arrangement for a Wardrope in Full Bloom

August 10, 1995|BETTY GOODWIN

The Movie: "A Walk in the Clouds"

The Setup: Love blossoms between married GI Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) and Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), the beautiful pregnant daughter of a Napa Valley vineyard owner.

The Costume Designer: Judy L. Ruskin, whose credits include "Born on the Fourth of July," "Sleepless in Seattle," "City Slickers" and "Forget Paris."

The Look: Victoria isn't the only one on her estate to own a closetful of dreamy '40s dresses, mostly in floral prints. The maid wears a fruit-print frock. And when it comes to jewelry, look for a bumper crop of grape pins and earrings. Paul and the rest of the movie's men sport plenty of period rayon shirts and old-fashioned print ties.

Noted: Control-top pantyhose were verboten for Victoria, her mother, Marie Jose (Angelica Aragon), and grandmother, Guadelupe (Evangelina Elizondo). All wore period undies. "When you wear stockings, a garter and full cotton underpants your body can expand," Ruskin explained. "It was important to make the women look voluptuous, soft and womanly because that's what this is about--the voluptuousness of a grape."

Trivia: All of the '40s-inspired prints used in the film are new, purchased in fabric stores in Downtown Los Angeles, including Ragfinders of California.

Sources: Most of the principals' clothes were custom made, with the traditional Mexican clothes constructed at Arte Charroin Los Angeles. Hats were by Harry Hats and women's vintage shoes came from Remix on Beverly Boulevard. Extras were dressed in flea market finds "from Santa Barbara to San Diego to Pomona," Ruskin said. "There's much less availability than there used to be. There were two other '40s projects, one for television and one movie, being made at the time, and sometimes I'd get to the flea markets just as [other costume designers] were leaving."

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