Clarissa Cruz
October 17, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Patricia Field is holding up Kelly Ripa’s underwear. Ruffled hot pink boy shorts, to be exact. ”I’m really looking for lots of color and quirky combinations,” says the veteran Sex and the City costume designer, now pulling double duty as the wardrober for ABC’s hit family sitcom Hope & Faith. ”Kelly’s character is extremely animated and very comical in a slapstick sort of way.”

But that doesn’t mean she can’t look fabulous. (She plays a TV star, after all.) The wardrobe department of the Ohio-set H&F is crammed with very Sex-y Dolce & Gabbana clutches, bejeweled Blahniks, and racks of multicolored fashions by everyone from Prada to Burberry. Still, the flamboyant, flame-haired woman who launched a thousand trends on the City — gold nameplate necklaces, silk-flower pins, underwear-as-outerwear, to name a few — admits: ”The energy on this show is completely different. Sarah Jessica [Parker] is always aware — she reads every magazine and knows every last detail of every designer’s collection. It’s part of her job. Kelly, when you give her something to wear, she doesn’t care who made it…. It’s more about the comedy.”

And if she can be funny while wearing a vintage Betsey Johnson minidress, all the better. ”What am I gonna do, put some, like, Gap on them?” she sniffs, flipping through plaid Ralph Lauren shirts for Ted McGinley (who plays Faith Ford’s husband, Charley). ”It’s still gotta look good.”

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