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A Classic Setup for a Blue Jeans Kind of Guy

July 25, 1996|BETTY GOODWIN

The Movie: "A Time to Kill"

The Setup: Young white lawyer Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) enlists hotshot law student/cutie Ellen Roark (Sandra Bullock) to help him defend African American factory worker Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) in an incendiary murder trial in the South.

The Costume Designer: Ingrid Ferrin, whose previous films include "The Client," "Golden Gate" and "Batman Forever" (with Bob Ringwood).

Hunk Watch: How do you make an emerging sex symbol (McConaughey) look appropriately enticing? Well, not by revealing his rippling muscles. In fact, the marketing teams at the Gap and J. Crew will love this one. McConaughey's Brigance just about lives in flat-front, baggy khakis. He wears the Polo/Ralph Lauren label trousers to work, even to church on Sunday. In a sort of retro frat-boy look, his daily uniform consists of the khakis, black blazer (Hugo Boss) and preppy white cotton shirts with button-down collars (Polo) worn with knit ties that were popular when Tab Hunter was coming of age. Actually, the point is, when a person is sexy, the clothes don't need to be. "You don't have to try too hard--it's Matthew we were looking at. I just put him in the classics," Ferrin says.

Trivia: In real life, McConaughey is strictly a blue jeans-and-boots kind of guy. (See the August issue of Vanity Fair.) "He likes nice, tight blue jeans. He wasn't used to baggy pants," says the designer. Nevertheless, the actor was so taken with his new look that he took home not only the khakis but also the Polo honey-colored, cap-toe shoes his character wears.

Her Look: Bullock certainly hasn't made her millions by exposing skin. She doesn't exactly do that now, but does go for a peek. Allows Ferrin: "I'm the first costume designer to make her as gorgeous and sexy as she is in real life." It's hard to ignore the lingerie, nothing blatantly trashy, mind you, but lingerie just the same. First, Ellen appears in what has to be the tightest white camisole she could possibly squeeze into, worn alone as a shirt with jeans. Later, the camisole reappears in black--and once again in white, displayed more daringly this time with a black bra. See-through blouses reveal lace bras.

Quoted: "I certainly hate the exploitation of women in all this lingerie in films, so we give a suggestion. We didn't want it to be tacky," says Ferrin.

You Should Know: Ferrin says she always uses seamless bras with tight clothes and sheer or lightweight fabrics. In this case, the bras (and the rest of the lingerie) are by Donna Karan.

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