God gets angry, wrote author Alice Walker, "if you walk by the color purple and don't notice it." Fat chance of that these days, with stars like Janet Jackson, Mick Jagger and Ashley Judd donning the ultra violet hue. Purple "has a timeless quality reminiscent of royalty and yet feels very now," says Extra host Leeza Gibbons, who sported a pansy-colored ensemble at a recent premiere. It can also be strikingly sexy. "I love purple because I equate it with passion," says ex-City of Angels star Vivica A. Fox. "Everybody has that kind of emotional reaction," says designer Christina Perrin, whose fall line bursts with plum tones. "They go, 'Oh, I love purple!' People don't usually comment on a color like that." Must be divine inspiration.
with Karen Brailsford in Los Angeles
behind the seams
Coy Madonna says the diamond ring boyfriend Guy Ritchie gave her after the birth of their son Rocco is a friendship ring, but I hear the bauble is steeped in syrupy sentiment. Romantic Ritchie chose the ring—a ca. 1900 five-carat dazzler from L.A.'s Neil Lane jewelry shop—because its three diamonds represent Madonna, Ritchie and their new addition. The platinum filigree mounting, which features tiny diamonds, represents Lourdes, Madonna's 3-year-old daughter with Carlos Leon....
Jennifer Lopez was on a mission just before the Latin Grammy Awards. The stunner simply couldn't hit the stage without getting her brows tended to, so she dashed into the salon of Beverly Hills eyebrow queen Anastasia Soare. La Lopez got a perfect arch and was out the door in minutes....
Ben Affleck may have tried to play it low-key at the Toronto International Film Festival, but Affleck watchers noticed subtle gold streaks in his mane. Has the actor gone terminally trendy on us? Nah: according to his rep, the lightened locks are for Ben's role as an Army pilot in the big-screen drama Pearl Harbor, opening next May....
Sex and the City's Kim Cattrall, who plays saucy sexpot Samantha, is getting chic on the cheap these days. She showed up at designer Joseph Abboud's fashion show in New York City swathed in a vintage silk floral Ralph Lauren frock that cost about as much as cab fare. "It was $10 at a tag sale," Cattrall boasted. "I got it dry-cleaned for $10, and here I am!"...
Seen: Michael J. Fox in a baseball cap, T-shirt and shorts, searching for wife Tracy Pollan at L.A.'s Fred Segal. He found her in the high-fashion section, natch.... Tori Spelling (in burgundy halter top and pants) and Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (in a white blouse and pinstripe pants) dancing the night away together on the terrace of Chanel's Rodeo Drive boutique.
We chatted with singer-actress Queen Latifah about her latest role: model for plus-size clothier Lane Bryant.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable about your size?
When I was younger, I compared myself to thinner friends. My self-esteem suffered.
What's your biggest shopping challenge?
Finding designers making my cut. Big girls should not have to wear things that don't fit.
Who are your favorites?
Prada and Gucci.
Are there styles you won't wear?
Short shirts; I've got a gut.
What do you say to large women?
There is nothing more fly than a big pretty girl with confidence.
Yes, that was the same Gucci top worn by Salma Hayek and Lil' Kim at separate events. "It's bold and sexy," says Gucci spokeswoman Lisa Schiek. But while each star lent the blouse her own stylish stamp, Kim's gold hot pants put her over the top.
A slimmed-down Bette Midler left a heavenly impression at a Manhattan fund-raiser in a chiffon-and-crystal Pamela Dennis gown. "Her personality is so strong," notes the designer. "It's a nice juxtaposition to put her in a soft style with a feminine modern dress."
The Kindest Cut of All
Leather pants are hot this season, but designers thought the look could use some venting. The fix? Stars like Kirsten Dunst and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos are donning pants slit not just on the sides, but also front and back. "Everybody started getting tired of the boot cut, and it was like, what should we do now? So the front slit was born," explains L.A. stylist Cary Fetman. "It gives you a long, slim silhouette," says Tenflo designer Judy Richardson. "It's also a great way to focus on a pair of beautiful shoes."
Has Cate Blanchett, her lovely locks shaved off, gone punk? Nope. It's for a role as a grieving widow in the film Heaven. But "she likes it," says a Miramax rep. "That's why she's not wearing a wig."
Meanwhile, Christina Ricci clipped and streaked her raven tresses for a role. "I've never had short hair before," she says. "I have serious bed head now. When I wake up, I look like Andy Warhol."