Hall's astounding attire will be missed

May 12, 1994|By Roy H. Campbell | Roy H. Campbell,Knight-Ridder News Service

Arsenio Hall's bidding goodbye to the late-night arena means more than just one less yakfest. It means we'll be left with the deadly dull wardrobes of David Letterman and Jay Leno.

Sometimes Mr. Hall's fashion sense was misguided; other times it was downright tacky. But at least he brought an eclectic and made-for-Technicolor wardrobe to late-night television.

He made a splash from his debut in January 1989 with double-breasted jackets in bold colors: orange, yellow, red, royal blue and lime green. Flashy print ties added more -- to Mr. Hall's bright clothes.

As time went on, Mr. Hall began wearing more avant-garde designs: leather bomber jackets in wild colors and patterns, silk print shirts, lapel-less and ventless black Eurotrash suits, baggy diaper pants, blazers with leather fringe, vests with fancy metal closures. He also sported a startling array of glasses, caps, hats and earrings, some garish, some straight from the hip-hop culture. His hair changed with the weather: fade one week, flat-top the next, multiple parts for a while, now curly. Recently, Mr. Hall took on a more sophisticated look with elongated blazers worn over a sporty vest, mandarin-collar shirt and drapey slacks.

Mr. Hall brought a different sensibility to the small screen. In a world where many African-Americans have to conform to make it, Mr. Hall was never afraid to look like a homeboy, never afraid to be himself.

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