01/12/1998 at 01:00 AM EST
Suddenly, out on the fringe of fashion comes fringe. A sort of double-retro look that recalls '70s exhibitionism and '20s Prohibition, the trendy tendrils are adorning hats, handbags and Demi Moore
and Nicole Kidman
, among other celebs. "The thing I like about fringe is the way it makes this sexy, peekaboo, hypnotic movement," says designer Tracy Feith, a fan whose clients include Julia Roberts
and Gwyneth Paltrow
. Isaac Mizrahi likes the look because it catches the eye and caresses the body: "Fringe is a lot of fun to wear. It feels great against your legs."
And, some maintain, it's practical. "I wanted to keep warm tonight," said Anjelica Huston, in a pink, fringed shawl, at last month's Fire & Ice Ball in L.A. "It can be glamorous and cozy." At the very least, the look is a chic way to battle boredom. "People are turning to prettier things," says Adriana Caras, whose tassled purses are in the clutches of Winona Ryder and Teri Hatcher
. "They're not afraid to embellish." But, as with anything, there's a dark side: If you fringe, don't drive. "You can't look at them without thinking about doing the shimmy," says wearer Jennifer Tilly. "It's like, 'I'm going to drink too much champagne and dance on the table!' "
With reporting by Steven Cojocaru, Anne-Marie Otey and Marisa Sandora