The 'thirtysomething' life lives on in a clothes line


LOS ANGELES-- Canceled television shows don't just fad into reruns anymore. Now one of the favorites of the nation's yuppies is coming back as a line of clothing.

While the ABC prime-time series "thirtysomething" was given the official ax, the show's costume supervisor, Patrick Norris, 38, of Van Nuys, is going forward with plans to sell his licensed collection of men's and women's clothes, called simply, thirtysomething.

The moderately priced line includes reproductions of the vintage pieces worn by Melissa and Elliot, Nancy's long sweaters and skirts, Ellyn's career looks, Hope's young mother jeans and sweat shirts and Michael's sport coats. Even Gary, who was killed on the show, has his baseball jacket live on in the thirtysomething collection.

The clothes aren't exact re-creations of the ensembles he mixed for the show. Instead, they are new styles based on the feeling of each character's wardrobe. As a man who comes from a Hollywood costuming family his mother is Patricia Norris, who designs the wardrobes for many David Lynch productions Norris knows the fickle realities of doing business in the entertainment industry.

"I knew 'thirtysomething' would end some day and that's one of the reasons why I decided to get involved in this," Norris said over breakfast last week, a few hours before he received official word of the cancellation.

"thirtysomething is a look," he said. "It's a look I've kind kind of created and validated."

Norris has confidence that his clothing line doesn't need the support of a weekly broadcast to get the message of his fashions across to buyers.

"I'm selling clothing, not a TV show," he said. Yet a major client, Macy's, already has canceled its orders for the fall collection, which should be in other stores by September.

"We expected a few retailers to go away scared if the show didn't go. But Saks (Fifth Avenue) is still going forward," Norris said.

A T-shirt could cost about $40 and the most expensive item, a leather bomber jacket, about $1,200. Gary's baseball jacket should be about $120. The collection, which includes 125 pieces for men and 150 for women for spring 1992, isn't labeled as to which character it represents.

"They'll know when they look at it," Norris said. "But they represent a lot of people, because that's what they do in our real lives. That's why the collection itself is so big."

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