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Special Men's Fashion Issue

Stylishly Tempered

Back on Hollywood's Hot List, Kiefer Sutherland Keeps His Cool

September 07, 2003|Heather John | Heather John is a senior Style editor at the magazine.

The love will last long after the heat," says Kiefer Sutherland by way of encouragement in the unmistakably calm voice that's both gravelly and smooth. It's 104 degrees inside a downtown loft, and the camera crew is near heat stroke. But Sutherland's keeping his cool--even in merino wool.

The actor maintains a constant level of comfort, which is reflected in his conspicuously unstudied sense of style. "Unruffled" applies not only to his personality, but also to his fashion choices--an increasingly popular approach for men who want to look good, but not in a showy way.

Sutherland is filming the third season of the Fox network hit show "24," the series that features the twice-Emmy-nominated Sutherland as CIA counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer. Taking the role lifted Sutherland, 36, out of the post-Brat Pack doldrums and reinvented his career at a time when--thanks to intelligently written dramas such as "The West Wing" and "The Sopranos" or, conversely, blockbuster studio flops of "Gigli" proportions--TV was becoming a desirable place for leading men to be. "Ten years ago, I probably wouldn't have thought about doing [TV]," he says. "But when I took '24,' the choices I was being given in a feature film were not satisfying, so it was really not a difficult question to answer. I'm very lucky it's worked out the way it has."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday September 28, 2003 Home Edition Los Angeles Times Magazine Part I Page 14 Lat Magazine Desk 1 inches; 47 words Type of Material: Correction
In the Special Men's Fashion Issue (Sept. 7), clothing credits for the cover photograph featuring actor Kiefer Sutherland were not listed. He wore a Prada camel-hair blazer, $1,685, at Barneys New York, Beverly Hills, and a Calvin Klein stretch-cotton shirt, $350, at Calvin Klein, New York City.

Sutherland's candor and lack of pretension are also reflected in his personal life, starting with his Silver Lake neighborhood. Unlike many other Hollywood types, he chooses not to live on the Westside. "The farther east I go, I realize that this city has an enormous amount to offer," he says. "It seems that inherently our mind-set in Los Angeles is that, after a while, you start moving west without any reason. You don't even really think it through other than 'Ooh, I've made some money so I need to move farther west.' So I guess you end up at the beach and that's that. But I wasn't very happy living there, and I had to figure out how and why I got there.

"When I moved to Los Angeles when I was 18, I lived on Harvard just south of Sunset, and I had the greatest time. So I decided to go check out that neighborhood again, and I realized that it wasn't just nostalgia. There's a lot of amazing stuff happening on the Eastside. I just feel more comfortable out here."

The actor now calls "home" a refurbished warehouse in Silver Lake, which is divided between his living quarters and a recording studio out of which he and his partner, Jude Cole, produce smaller bands they've discovered all over the world, from the West Coast to Norway. "The independent music scene is in real trouble. The opportunities for listeners to have a variety of music to choose from is getting smaller and smaller. I also believe the same thing of the film industry. It's just a lot cheaper to make a record than a movie," he adds.

In addition to his music projects, Sutherland, who traded Hollywood for the pro rodeo circuit for several years in the '90s, spends much of his down time riding his horses in Griffith Park. He also rides the subway. "I love driving and having a car in Los Angeles, but you can start to feel very removed from everybody," he says. "I've fallen in love with the subway. And I can take the train to the airport or the beach, and there's an amazing kind of freedom in that."

And there's a certain freedom Sutherland feels in taking style risks. Though you'll mostly find him looking comfortably rugged in Levi's, boots and Ray-Bans, you might find him in something more offbeat if the occasion warrants. "It's just amazing the kind of treatment you get when you're wearing a kilt," says the actor, who wore the traditional Scottish garb to a recent award ceremony in Ottawa honoring his mother, Shirley Douglas, who is active in Canadian politics. Though a longtime U.S. resident, Sutherland maintains affinity for his homeland's live-and-let-live attitude, which extends to fashion. "In Canada they treat you with a great deal of respect, but here they'd probably want to flog you. People here can be so cynical that if you were to do something like that, they'd think there was an ulterior motive instead of just the sheer joy of wearing a kilt." And being comfortable with his choices is what makes Kiefer Sutherland a natural.


Styled by Vincent Boucher; stylist assistant: Jay Knowlton; grooming: Sylvia Viau/Cloutier Agency; production: Giovanni Jance; production assistant: Jennifer Nocon

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