Chokers are back—but not the simple pearls your mother wore. What's grabbing Madonna, Heather Graham and Trudie Styler by the throat are big, bold, make-a-statement styles that often include playful beading and dangling fringe. The sexy collars "draw attention right to the neck, a sensuous part of the body," says jewelry designer Elyssa B. Silbert, whose West Hollywood shop recently sold chokers to Sharon Stone and Chelsea Clinton. Says City of Angels star Vivica A. Fox of the quadruple-layered crystal beaded piece she wore at an awards show: "It was a wonderful complement to my outfit."
The key to pulling off these elaborate necklaces is to keep everything else simple. "It's best to go clean with the dress," advises L.A. stylist Michael Eisenhower, who has garbed Faith Hill and Cher, That's good news for those whose closets are still filled with minimalist frocks. "You can wear the same old outfit but with a fabulous new choker," says London-based accessories designer Maryrose Monroe. "It updates the whole look."
with Susan Christian Goulding in Los Angeles and Kimberly Chrisman in London
Behind the Seams
With a piece of jewelry playing a major role in the thriller What Lies Beneath, the film's makers didn't want to leave anything to chance. So they commissioned L.A. jeweler Jennifer Kaufman to craft the 1-in. silver rose charm that hangs from Michelle Pfeiffer's neck in the movie. Kaufman whipped up three different versions until all concerned were satisfied. No easy task, since her orders were to create a flower that didn't look too, well, flowery. "They wanted the piece to look angry," Kaufman explains....
Other jewelry news: Ducking into diamond haven Harry Winston recently was Sandra Bullock, on a break from shooting the flick Miss Congeniality outside the tony New York City store. Dragging costar Michael Caine along, the sly star executed a neat little ambush by trying on a $160,000 diamond necklace and then playfully prodding Caine to pop for the extravagant piece for his wife, Shakira. Bullock teased a visibly nervous Caine that he could well afford the gem, but the actor managed to escape without making the purchase....
LeAnn Rimes apparently thinks actor WS boyfriend Andrew Keegan needs some help in the wardrobe department. The take-charge crooner recently took Keegan to L.A. shop Lisa Kline Men, where a sales-clerk presented a selection of designer duds to her before a dutiful Keegan tried them on. Rimes picked up the $1,000 tab for several Paul Smith T-shirts, a sexy sheer shirt by Bawa and hip drawstring pants by James Perse....
Brace yourselves for yet another Madonna style reincarnation. The makeover junkie appears in her upcoming video for the single "Music"—shot before she was visibly pregnant-gussied up in a ten-gallon cowboy hat, très glam white fur coat and gobs of gold jewelry. A fashion yenta blabs that the inspiration came from lenswoman Lisa Eisner's recent photo book Rodeo Girl....
Seen: A pigtailed Claire Danes in a red polka-dot bikini frolicking on a Fire Island, N.Y., beach with musician boyfriend Ben Lee....
Courtney Love, in cigarette pants, tank top and stunning Indian-inspired chandelier earrings, lunching in Beverly Hills.
Frankie B. designer Daniella Clarke was delighted when Daryl Hannah bought her hip-hugging 70s-flavored denim jumpsuit last May—and thrilled when Carmen Electra donned the identical outfit two months later. Says Clarke: "What better compliment than to have two gorgeous women wearing my designs?"
Remember her recent cornrows? Melanie Griffith has now taken a different flight of hair fancy, streaking her locks Crayola red. Los Angeles salon owner James Kendall isn't impressed: "It looks like a job she did over the bathroom sink."
Lending her own tropical heat to an island-themed soiree last week, actress Sharon Lawrence donned a slinky silk ensemble by Dosa and strappy Donna Karan sandals. "It fit the party," she says. "The dress looked good with the coconut I was drinking out of."
Bold Strokes, Bolder Style
What's hotter than a hard court in August? Tennis fashion. With the likes of Venus Williams (who helps design her own duds for Reebok) and Anna Kournikova increasingly sporting clingy bodysuits and micro-dresses, there's more on display than blistering backhands. "The players are more divalike now," says Tennis Match associate editor Richard Becker. "They want to grab the attention." Are their togs too sexy? "They don't do it to look sexy," says Women's Tennis Association spokesman Chris DeMaria. "They do it to look stylish."
Aviator sunglasses have been hip all summer, but leave it to Versace to crank up the cool quotient by rimming the lenses with colored Swarovski crystals. Flying out of stores and onto such famous faces as Elizabeth Hurley and singer Mary J. Blige, the $450 specs "are the perfect accessory," says Blige. For sparkle king Elton John, who calls the shades "drop-dead fabulous," the choice was easy: "They remind me of glasses I used to wear in the '70s."
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