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THE HORSE WHISPERER

About The Costumes

Costume designer Judy L. Ruskin also seasoned her designs with the flavor of the authenticity of the Double Divide environment. "The approach was in how to represent an American ranch in the contemporary West," says Ruskin. "The ranchers wear predominantly American­made clothing from Levis, Wrangler, Woolrich and Carhart, with Justin Boots and hats by Bailey. I believe that people working on ranches try to support American products, so that credibility is seen through the wardrobe."

"Don Edwards plays ranch hand Smokey and his clothing is very similar to everyone else's, but his style is very much his own," Ruskin notes. "He makes his own ranch­hand crease, the way he's been wearing it for years. And the way he buttons up his shirts is very proper and old­fashioned and charming."

Ruskin worked in conjunction with Calvin Klein and his top designers such as Tim Gardiner to create a custom­made wardrobe for Annie MacLean, Kristin Scott Thomas' character. "For the New York sequences that begin the story we used a different color palette with somber winter colors to express the tone of the story. Scarlett Johansson's character, Grace, dresses in clothes that reflect the evolution she goes through. Initially you see her expressing her individuality and her spirit for life, and then she protects and covers herself as she is adjusting. As she gains more confidence, she begins to express herself again."

Bernie Pollack has designed Robert Redford's wardrobe for over 20 films since 1965, including the westerns "Jeremiah Johnson" and "The Electric Horseman." "In 'The Horse Whisperer,' Tom Booker is pure, a man of the soil, but he's got another dimension to him in that he's a real healer," says Pollack. "For Tom Booker, I wanted to incorporate some distinctive style, but I was also careful to stay true to the essence of Booker's code as a rancher, a healer, and an intentionally simple man."

Pollack had much of Tom Booker's horse­work clothing tailored to the style he defined for the character and had most of the accessories custom­made. Redford's hats were made by physicist turned hat­maker John Morris of the Rocky Mountain Hat Company in Bozeman. Morris also makes hats for technical advisor Buck Brannaman.

Master saddle­maker Chas. Weldon of Billings, Montana, created saddles, chaps and hand-tooled belts finished with sterling silver buckles from the historic studio of Edward H. Bohlin. Weldon has been making tack, custom saddles and chaps for Buck Brannaman for 17 years.

"When Buck became involved in the movie and the need for custom tack arose, he had the production company contact me," says Weldon. "I don't usually have time to make chaps much, but for this movie I ended up doing a lot of zippered shotgun chaps, tooled belts and tooled spur straps." Weldon's shop is a one­man operation, and the usual waiting list for a Weldon saddle is three to five years. He and Brannaman designed a special saddle tree that is the foundation of the unique Vaquero­style roping saddle that Redford uses in "The Horse Whisperer."

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