The Good, Bad and to Die For

The end of the year is almost here, and we can’t stop thinking about Diane Keaton’s wardrobe in “Manhattan Murder Mystery.” We want every last layer of it. Here are a few other highlights--and low points--of ’93.

Most Successful Overhaul: David Letterman, remodeled when his show moved to an earlier time slot on a different network. Twenty pounds lighter, the talk-show host proved that he could maintain his weird edge even while dressed in suits with a chairman-of-the-board feeling, white dress shirts and quiet ties.

Still Needs an Overhaul: “Today” co-host Katie Couric, who has yet to locate her personal style. Perpetually glued to dangling little earrings that swing irritatingly during interviews, she’s stuck in a youth mode that doesn’t suit her position.

Most Impressive Research: For “Remains of the Day,” the story of a butler and housekeeper in 1930s England, Academy Award-winning English costume designers Jenny Beavan and John Bright checked out servant style--i.e. when to wear tail coats versus tuxedos--with a former royal servant, Cyril Dickman.


We Could Live Without: Ever seeing another ‘50s bowling shirt.

All Pumped Up With Nowhere to Go: Built-up biceps may look great at the gym, but not sticking out of period sleeveless costumes. Guilty were Ellen Barkin, playing a ‘50s mom in “This Boy’s Life”; Angela Bassett, re-creating the ‘70s Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and Joanna Pacula as a saloon worker in 1880s “Tombstone.”

Characters Whose Wardrobes We Want: Carol Lipton (Diane Keaton), the affluent West Side New Yorker in “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” with layers of vintage jackets and sweaters, and contemporary tailored jackets, sweaters, baggy trousers and skirts; Ouisa Kittredge (Stockard Channing), an affluent Upper East Side New Yorker in “Six Degrees of Separation,” with elegant and impeccable suits for every occasion.