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updated 07/10/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/10/2000 01:00AM

Knots So Hot

Hollywood trendsetters such as Lara Flynn Boyle, Hilary Swank and Courtney Love are in knots these days, sporting the latest retro craze—tie-neck tops—now being revived by designers such as Dolce & Gabbana and Helmut Lang. "They're so beautiful and elegant—a really classy article," raves The View's Lisa Ling. "It's the kind of look that Cher and Lauren Hutton would wear in the '70s," says Minu Zaporta, design assistant at Manhattan clothier Conchi. Stylist Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig, who recently wrapped Toni Collette in a Conchi scarf shirt, agrees. Tying one on, she says, is a surefire way to be "sexy without being sleazy."

As long as you give it the right twist, that is. Rosenzweig suggests knotting the scarf behind the neck "so it's almost like a choker," or on the side with "one flap in front, one behind." Big earrings will pull the look together, but skip the bandanna. Says Rosenzweig: "Don't double-scarf."

with Karen Brailsford in Los Angeles

behind the seams

Elizabeth Taylor was a little picky during Mattel Inc.'s creation of a Taylor doll, to be sold this fall for $38 with a purchase of Taylor's White Diamonds fragrance. I hear that the very involved Taylor had the hairstyle of her plastic mini-me changed several times. Indeed, La Liz sent her replica back to the drawing boards until they got the do—fashioned to resemble Taylor's 1950s glam-queen hairstyle—just right....

Scoop! Shaft's Samuel L. Jackson, who sports a bad-to-the-bone Armani wardrobe in the hit flick, has just accepted Giorgio Armani's invitation to walk the runway in his spring 2001 women's show in Milan in October. "Sam was born to model," gushes the designer....

Ignoring the girls-only rule at a manicure and pedicure party for fashionistas at Frédéric Fekkai Salon in Beverly Hills, actress Holly Hunter arrived with cinematographer hubby Janusz Kaminski. Good thing for him: He managed to persuade Fekkai to give him an edgy buzz cut on the spot....

Playing an angel in the big-screen version of Charlie's Angels has clearly rubbed off on Cameron Diaz. The star rang up L.A. jewelry designer Lena Wald and ordered 30 pairs of Wald's trendy personalized-initial, white gold and pavé diamond earrings to give to cast and crew of the wrapped flick. Diaz's idea to have special diamond tiaras made for her costars Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu was scratched due to time constraints, so Barrymore and Liu had to make do with the $220 earrings, like everyone else....

Seen: Angela Bassett, scooping up a load of stretchy tank tops with built-in bras at the Express store in L.A.'s Beverly Center. Bassett knows a good thing when she sees it: She applied for an Express credit card on the spot, giving her a 15 percent discount.

star talk

To tan or not to tan, that is the question. What do you do?

Heather Locklear
"I use sunblock and self-tanner."

Lisa Rinna
"If it was healthy, I'd bake my little bottom in the sun. [But I don't.]"

The Bold and the Beautiful Hunter Tylo
"I'm really careful with the sun, so I use self-tanning creams."

Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath
"I spend time in the old tanning bootharoo, but I'm Irish, so I'm either white or red. I don't think I tan."

Household hinter Heloise
"I've had two tans in my life. I'm a Southern belle who was taught to stay out of the sun."

Flower Power
Lately, it seems Sarah Jessica Parker hardly leaves home without a fabric posy pinned to her outfit. In fact, at the Sex and the City star's urging, even her character's clothes are coming up roses. So what's the bloomin' idea? The buds "are an expression of Sarah's charm, that she's fun and feminine," says City costumer Rebecca Weinberg. "Flowers are a reflection of her happiness and her good spirit. She's a very happy person."

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